Comment classed as a hate crime

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

When he became involved in a dispute between his sister and her neighbour a 19-year-old committed a hate crime through a comment he made.

Andrew Mackay, Glenfield Road, Lurgan, admitted a charge of common assault on September 18 last year.

The court heard that the injured party told police there was an ongoing issue with her neighbour and that her neighbour’s brother, the defendant, had threatened to hit her and called her a ‘fenian c—t’.

When police spoke to him Mackay denied assaulting the injured party. He admitted using the sectarian foul language but claimed it was not in his nature to use this language.

Handing in references Mr Richard Monteith, representing the defendant, said there had been an ongoing history between the injured party and Mackay’s sister, who lived side by side, and he allowed himself to become involved.

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter said that what was said would make it a hate crime and wondered if a pre-sentence report would be required.

Mr Monteith pointed out that Mackay had a completely clear record and the assault was a technical one with no actual physical touching.

“He walked towards her and told her to clear off because he was getting very annoyed,” added Mr Monteith.

Judge Prenter told Mackay he should be sending him to prison but what was saving him from that was that he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, there was no physical contact and he had a clear record.

He imposed a fine of £200, ordered Mackay to pay £200 compensation to the injured party and also to pay a £15 offender’s levy.