Bishop Street Courthouse
An 81-years-old Derry man has been jailed for six years at the city's Crown Court for sexually abusing four primary school girs over a nine year period, starting in February 1992.
Philip McCallion, from Moss Park in the Galliagh area of the city, will serve four years in prison and two years on probation.
He is also subject to the notifications of the Sexual Offences Act for life and will be on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years. McCallion abused his four victims in a mobile shop which he owned at Leafair Park, also in the Galliagh area,
He had been unanimously found guilty at his trial in September of 19 counts of indecent assault and was unanimously found not guilty of ten similar offences.
The abuse took the form of what the victims described as "a feeling game" whereby McCallion asked them to put their hands behind their backs.
He then placed an object in their hands which the victims described as like a peeled banana.
It was only in later years that the victims realised it was McCallion's penis.
After the abuse, McCallion gave his victims sweets or crisps.
Passing sentence Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey told McCallion he had robbed his victims of their innocence. "You gave evidence at your trial in which you were dismissive of the evidence given by the four complainants and your demeanour throughout the trial was arrogant and blasé in spite of the serious nature of the allegations against you.
“I have set out some of the detail of the evidence given by each of the complainants not because I want to be voyeuristic in relation to what they went through, but as an acknowledgment of what they were subjected to and of their courage in coming forward to give evidence," she said.
She said all four complainants had made victim impact statements which set out how they were affected by McCallion's abuse.
Judge McCaffrey said one of the complainants was now, perhaps understandably, hypervigilant with her own children.
She added another victim, in her statement, referred to her continued stress and sleeplessness and the fact that she, too, was overprotective of her child.
Judge McCaffrey said the third victim stated she was scared of McCallion and could not speak out when her father was alive because he would have become angry and upset.
She told the court the fourth victim said the abuse had affected her ability to be intimate with her partner.
Judge McCaffrey said it was obvious the abuse had had a long lasting and profound effect on all of his victims.
She added: "The Probation Officer notes that you maintain your innocence in spite of your convictions. Indeed you have asserted to the Probation Officer that you consider that the charges were invented by the four victims as there is money in this for them.
“You have not, therefore, demonstrated any victim empathy nor remorse and this attitude, unfortunately, is characteristic of the arrogance you demonstrated during the trial in your demeanour to the court and the complaints against you."
.Judge McCaffrey said she took into consideration in determining her sentence the aggravating factors in the case - these included the innocence, youth and vulnerability of the victims, the number of convictions and the prolonged period of the abuse, the multiplicity of offences, the impact the offending had on the victims and McCallion's lack of appreciation of the gravity of his conduct.
McCallion, who maintains his innocence and who claims his victims concocted their stories purely for financial gain, blew a kiss to three members of his family in the public gallery as he was led from the dock.
Several of his victims hugged each other following his jailing.
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