Gilford man is found guilty of hate crime

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Offences committed by a 29-year-old man were considered a hate crime after racist abuse was used, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Martin James Campbell, Ballymacanallen Road, Gilford, admitted three charges.

For criminal damage to a CCTV camera on November 6 last year he was sentenced to six months in prison while he received two months for common assault and three months for disorderly behaviour.

The sentences were suspended for three years and Campbell was ordered to pay £88 restitution for the damage he caused to the camera.

The court heard that at 4.44am police were called to an address in Maple Court, Lurgan, where they saw the defendant standing in a front garden. He said: “He is a lying f—king c—t.”

A CCTV camera had been pulled from the wall.

The injured party said Campbell had slapped him in the face and attempted to strike him.

Campbell admitted pulling down the camera saying he would pay for it and added ‘they are telling lies, they are two c—ts, get them down here’.

He said the injured party was a ‘Paki c—t’ who was probably claiming benefits and trying to ‘get a green card’.

A public prosecutor said this was considered a hate crime.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

A barrister representing the defendant said the matter was aggravated by hostility.

He explained that Campbell had lived next door to the injured party and his wife without incident.

The barrister said race had not been an issue between the two parties.

He explained that, as described in the probation report, Campbell had been on a ‘nine hour drinking binge’ on this occasion.

In the report he is asked why he made the racial comments and he replied it was ‘probably in the heat of the moment’ when he was ‘drunk and stupid’.

The barrister added that the spitting offence was ‘disgusting’ and that Campbell was trying to address his difficulties with alcohol.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan told the defendant he was beginning to accumulate a record, a lot of which was fuelled by his drinking.

He had issues with alcohol which he needed to address.

She added this was ‘particularly distasteful’ offending aggravated by how Campbell spoke to the victims and she hoped he had apologised to them.