Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Derry gay bar straight man acquitted over bottom touch response

A man acquitted of assault in a gay friendly bar was “establishing his straight credentials” when he pushed his face into the face of a man who had touched him on the bottom, a judge has said.

District Judge Barney McElholm said he accepted the 21-year-old defendant was brushing off the man, just as footballers did, in Pepe's bar and nightclub in Londonderry last November.

A prosecution solicitor said the injured party had not made any allegations against Christopher Brendan Thompson from Harkness Gardens in the Waterside.

Instead, an eyewitness reported the incident to the police and the defendant was subsequently prosecuted.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said Thompson was reacting to unwanted sexual advances from the injured party.

Quoting from his client's police statement, Mr Quigley said: “I was going for a smoke and when I opened the door he felt my a*** so I turned around and sunk my head into his head because he was ready to plant his lips on me.”

Mr Quigley said Thompson |had been “the victim of a sexual assault and he immediately turned around and rebutted that assault”.

He added: “He did so by pushing his face into the other man's face. There was no blood, no injury, no bruising.”

Acquitting the defendant, Mr McElholm said he accepted Thompson went face to face with the man who had touched him, just as footballers did.

“However if someone did that to a woman in this town, heaven knows how she would react.

“That is a serious point,” said the judge.

“This was a serious initial assault not in terms of injury, but it was an assault on the defendant.

“The question is - was his response proportionate or disproportionate?

“I accept it was proportionate in that I think Mr Thompson was establishing his straight credentials.

“It was not a case of him carrying out an assault, rather a brush-off,” he said.

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