Homeless man ‘kicked and punched in random attack’

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A homeless man was kicked and punched as he lay in a sleeping bag on a Belfast street, a court has heard.

The victim made no attempt to defend himself during an unprovoked and random attack at Botanic Avenue on Tuesday morning, police said.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a 26-year-old man accused of inflicting violence on him.

Jack Simpson, of Inverary Avenue in the city, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with common assault.

He also faces a further count of criminal damage to a phone belonging to the PSNI.

Opposing his release from custody, an investigating officer claimed he poses a risk to the public.

She said: “This was an unprovoked attack on a vulnerable homeless person captured on CCTV.”

Defence counsel Michael Boyd confirmed his client denies carrying out the assault.

“He has made the case that it isn’t him on the CCTV,” the barrister said.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall remanded Simpson in custody to appear again next month.