Dog attack man avoids prison

Stuart Morrison
Stuart Morrison

A Belfast man who attacked his Polish neighbour’s dog as part of a suspected hate crime has avoided being sent to jail.

Stuart Morrison, 30, was given a six-month suspended sentence which included assaulting a foreign national and issuing a threat to destroy his home.

All of the offences were committed close to Morrison’s Bloomfield Parade home on May 14.

He originally planned to contest the allegations against him at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

But he pleaded guilty to charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, threats to damage property and common assault.

Morrison also admitted using disorderly behaviour and resisting police.

It was claimed that he kicked the dog and shouted that he would burn down the home of its owner.

Prosecutors contended that the victim’s nationality was a factor in offences allegedly associated with hate crimes.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey said Morrison was remorseful and apologetic and claimed he wasn’t a racist.

However, it was accepted by the court that the assault and threats to damage property were aggravated by hostility.

Enhanced terms were imposed on that basis.