Mairia Cahill’s ex-partner convicted of harassing her

Mairia Cahill
Mairia Cahill

The former partner of Irish Labour Party Senator Mairia Cahill has been convicted of harassing her, it emerged today.

Stephen Altimas received a four-month suspended prison term for an offence linked to alleged social media postings of music videos with references to guns.

Details emerged as the 37-year-old was sentenced again in a separate case involving harassment and sending menacing Facebook messages to a journalist.

Altimas, of Jamaica Court in Belfast, had claims that he targeted Ms Cahill and breached a restraining order by posting messages and material about her on social media websites.

The alleged offences were committed on dates between February and March last year.

During his trial Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard police were sent postings Ms Cahill believed to be offensive.

It was also contended that she felt threatened by music videos referring to guns and song titles by gangster rap artists posted on social media.

Police said was arrested at a public library in the city while on either Facebook or Twitter.

He was online at that time making posts, a detective claimed.

Defence counsel Michael Tierney had argued that the online material under scrutiny was in a public forum rather than sent directly to the alleged victim.

Other people alerted Ms Cahill, claiming Altimas was making reference to her, he insisted.

The barrister also stressed that his client had put up videos from artists ranging from Tupac Shakur and Madonna to Fleetwood Mac and Tears for Fears.

However, it was confirmed today that Altimas was found guilty of harassment and breaching a restraining order.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes imposed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, on December 16.

Altimas was back in court to be dealt with for further convictions of harassment and sending menacing messages via public electronic communications.

The charges relate to dates between February and April 2016.

Prosecutor Robin Steer said messages were posted on Facebook to a journalist after she wrote an article about a case involving Altimas.

“There hasn’t been any repetition and I’m not seeing a restraining order,” Mr Steer added.

Mr Tierney described the offences as being in “the lowest category” and over a relatively short period of time.

Handing down another four-month jail term, again suspended for two years, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: “He needs to step back and address the issues in an appropriate way.”

She added: “His record is very poor for this type of offending.”