A Belfast man who made online threats against loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson has been fined £400 and bound over for a year.
Allowing 27-year-old Ryan Padraig Maguire 18 weeks to pay the fine at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Mark Hamill warned Maguire that if he reoffended in the next 12 months, he would have to hand over a further £600 to the court.
At an earlier hearing Maguire, from Springhill Rise in Belfast, pleaded guilty to two counts of improper use of a communications network to send material which was “grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or of a menacing character” on August 16 and 17.
Two other charges alleging that Maguire harassed and threatened to kill Mr Bryson were not proceeded with.
The court heard that Maguire had been drinking at a party when he sent the loyalist blogger and flag protestor a private message on Facebook stating: “Roses are red, violets are blue, hello Jamie, I’m going to kill you. PS Have a terrible day.”
A prosecuting lawyer recounted how Maguire followed that up with a Twitter message threatening that he would kill Mr Bryson.
The flag protestor alerted police said the lawyer, and their inquiries led officers to Maguire who admitted what he had done during questioning.
Maguire claimed, however, and his solicitor repeated yesterday, that he never intended for the threats to be taken seriously and had apologised for his behaviour.
The lawyer told the court Maguire had already paid a heavy price in that he had lost not one but two jobs “for something that was done in a drunken stupor” at a house party and will “certainly never be repeated”.
Imposing the fines and £15 offender levy, Judge Hamill told him it had been “a pretty stupid thing to do” given that Mr Bryson had no way of knowing whether the threats were real or a joke.