Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Pair of drunken louts who abused Derry tourists get five months in prison

A District Judge has jailed two Londonderry men for five months after they admitted verbally abusing and acting in an aggressive manner towards three groups of female tourists.

The two men carried out their “loutish” behaviour on the walls of Derry during last August's Maiden City Festival.

One of the men also exposed himself to the women.

Ryan John Sharkey (19), from Kular Court, and Ruairi Canning (21), from Galliagh Park, further admitted shouting sectarian comments at a group of street actors who were dressed in period costume, also on the city's walls last August 8.

A prosecution solicitor told District Judge Barney McElholm that the defendants approached the three separate groups of tourists, one from Australia, one from Italy and one from Russia. Sharkey threw a bottle at one of the groups, but missed.

Canning urinated in view of one of the groups and then turned and exposed himself to them.

The court was told that the Italian women “were particularly upset” by the behaviour.

The two men then shouted sectarian comments at the group of street actors dressed in period costume who were re-enacting scenes from the history of the siege of Derry for the benefit of the gathered tourists.

A defence barrister described the behaviour of Sharkey and Canning as “profoundly serious and reprehensible”.

He said that both men were drunk at the time.

Jailing the men for five months and also fining Canning £1,500, Mr McElholm described their behaviour as shocking, offensive and highly insulting.

He also said that it was explicit, sectarian and loutish.

“In this the year of City of Culture, there will be thousands of visitors if not tens of thousands of visitors coming to this city and it is an absolute disgrace that any citizen should behave towards tourists in this manner.

“These men caused upset and trauma by their actions to these visitors and the only sentence appropriate in this case is a custodial one,” he said.

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