Sex offender on the buses jailed.
Friday 16th May 2014 @ 17:52 by Anna Fletcher
A man has been jailed for 12 weeks after he performed a sex act on himself in front of a 16-year-old female bus passenger.

Anthony John Smith, 54, of Pitt Street, Audenshaw, was also banned from travelling on the top deck of buses for two years.

Jennifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said the teenager from Glossop had boarded a bus to travel home from Ashton at around 3pm on December 6, and sat upstairs where there were a number of passengers.

After a couple of stops a man boarded the bus and sat across the aisle from her and tried to make conversation.
After a while she realised that not only was the defendant masturbating under his clothes, but that they were now the only two passengers on the top deck.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “When he had finished he tried to engage her in conversation again and she went downstairs to sit near the driver and the defendant followed.”

The court heard the incident had unnerved the teenager and left her anxious about travelling on public transport.

She had to give evidence at a trial after Smith denied behaving in a way likely to cause harassment alarm or distress.

He was found guilty of the offence.

The court was told Smith had two previous convictions for indecent exposure committed on buses when young girls were present.

Lisa Tinsley, defending, said Smith still denied the offence and as a result the probation service would find it difficult to work with him, a position he accepted.

Ms Tinsley said Smith, a single man on job seekers allowance recently moved to Audenshaw to live with his brother.

Jailing Smith for a total of 12 weeks magistrate Hilary Batterbee told him only a custodial sentence was justified.
“This offence was committed against a vulnerable victim while travelling on the upper deck of public transport when no other persons were present.

“The victim went downstairs and you followed.

“The young victim felt threatened and her confidence has been effected and she is now generally anxious. You have convictions for similar conduct in 2006 and 2007.

“You pleaded not guilty forcing the young victim to come to court to give evidence.”

No order was made for costs or compensation.

– You can read 16 other stories in our Court Round-up (page 6) in this week’s Tameside Reporter (May 15).