‘Sectarian, bigoted thug’ verbally abused young people

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A man who entered Derry’s Fountain Estate and sang sectarian songs, also called a young wheelchair user a ‘sp**tic,’ a court has heard.

Jason Doherty committed a series of offences after watching an ‘Old Firm’ derby match and consuming a ‘skinful’ of alcohol.

Suspending a five month sentence for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm said: “These are the actions of a sectarian, bigoted thug. Heaven help the people in The Fountain having to put up with this sort of carry on.

“They did not invite this behaviour or, in any way provoke it, other than being there. The community is not going to tolerate this sort of behaviour from whatever quarter it comes.”

The judge also ordered the Doherty to complete 80 hours of community service and 18 months on Probation.

The defendant, of Abercorn Road, admitted common assault, doing a provocative act and disorderly behaviour.

The admitted obstructing and resisting police and criminal damage on September 24, last year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard that the defendant made his way to Wapping Lane from Abercorn Road and began singing sectarian songs.

He was filmed doing this and the matter was reported to police by eye witnesses.

Doherty also shouted sectarian abuse at a group of children and other young people in the area.

The court was told a young wheelchair user moved closer to this group, in an attempt to give them some protection, and Doherty called him a ‘sp**tic’ and moved towards him aggressively.

The young person’s wheelchair got stuck in a grating and Doherty ran off.

Doherty was stopped by police in the Abercorn Road area and he became abusive. He refused to provide his details and spat inside the police vehicle.

The defendant continued to be abusive on the way to the police station.

During police interview the following day, Doherty said he could not remember the incident. He did apologise for his behaviour and claimed that his issues with alcohol often caused him to black out.

It was revealed the 30-year-old had a previous conviction for throwing petrol bombs

Defence counsel, Stephen Mooney, told the court his client’s actions were ‘nasty’ and ‘aggravated by hostility.’

He added: “The mind boggles as to why he did this. He had been watching the Old Firm derby in a local bar, had a skinful of drink and decided to do what he did when he entered The Fountain. It was a shameful escapade on his behalf.”

Passing sentence, Judge McElholm said it would be ‘attractive’ to impose a custodial sentence and warned Doherty if he committed any further offences, he would be going to prison.