Defendant ‘ashamed’ of attack on homeless man

Court
Court

A man accused of kicking and punching a homeless victim lying in a shop doorway is “ashamed” of his actions, the High Court has heard.

Jack Simpson accepts CCTV footage depicts him launching an allegedly unprovoked attack on the man in south Belfast, his lawyer confirmed.

The 26-year-old, of Inverary Avenue in the city, faces a charge of common assault over the early morning incident on February 21.

He is further accused of criminal damage to a police phone smashed up in a custody cell.

During a bail application prosecutors said CCTV operators recorded the victim being targeted as he lay in a doorway at Botanic Avenue.

His assailant struck out without any apparent provocation, punching him twice to the face and then a kick to the side of the head.

Crown lawyer Philip Henry said: “The homeless male was sitting and didn’t react to defend himself.”

Further kicks were delivered during continued aggression before the attacker walked off.

Simpson was arrested in nearby Shaftesbury Square, based on a description provided to police.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd told the court his client comes from an affluent background.

His life spiralled out of control, however, after he started abusing drugs and alcohol, the lawyer said.

Mr Boyd contended that Simpson had been out drinking and got involved in an argument with the victim, who was known to him.

“He accepts it was him on CCTV,” the barrister said.

“Mr Simpson lost his temper, they were involved in a slanging match and he struck out.

“He’s ashamed of himself, and extremely apologetic for what happened. There’s no excuse for it.”

Adjourning the bail application, Madam Justice McBride requested more information on what support structures are in place for the accused.

Describing the attack as “nasty”, she added: “It’s an aggravating factor that this man was homeless and on the street.”