A Lurgan man committed what was considered a ‘hate crime’ when he made homophobic comments towards a female police officer, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.
Noel David Steele (64), Greenhill Park, Lurgan, was sentenced to three months in prison for disorderly behaviour on March 8 this year.
A concurrent three month term was imposed for resisting a police officer. Both prison sentences were suspended for 12 months.
Steele was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to the police officer.
A public prosecutor said that this incident was considered as a hate crime.
The court heard that around 10.30pm police received a 999 call from a female in Dollingstown who said she had been assaulted by her boyfriend, the son of the defendant.
While police were dealing with the son at Greenhill Park the defendant initially was trying to make his son co-operate with police.
Steele then turned on the police and brought a wolf type dog out of the house saying ‘this will even things up’.
He threatened police with the dog if they didn’t let his son go and then made several homophobic comments towards a female officer.
Steele was warned about his behaviour but continued and when arrested he struggled with police.
The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.
District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said that in the probation report the defendant continued to deny that he was threatening police with the dog.
A barrister representing the defendant said it was a case of the defendant’s son bringing trouble to his door.
The son was dealt with by way of a fine when he appeared at an earlier court.
The barrister added that the language used by Steele made the distinction between the two defendants and he accepted what he said was unsavoury. She added he knew what he had done was unacceptable.
Judge Bates said that Steele had admitted to the probation officer that he did this with the intention of upsetting the officer.
He added that Steele’s language was completely unacceptable and his words were used in a vicious and intimidating way.