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Belfast man who attacked Polish neighbour's dog as part of suspected hate crime avoids jail

By Alan Erwin

Published 03/10/2016

He originally planned to contest the allegations against him at Belfast Magistrates' Court.
He originally planned to contest the allegations against him at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

A Belfast man who attacked his Polish neighbour's dog as part of a suspected hate crime has avoided being sent to jail.

Stuart Morrison, 30, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for his actions, which also included assaulting the foreign national and issuing a threat to destroy his home.

All of the offences were committed on the street close to Morrison's Bloomfield Parade home on May 14 this year.

He originally planned to contest the allegations against him at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

But instead he pleaded guilty to charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, threats to damage property and common assault.

Morrison also admitted using disorderly behaviour at Bloomfield Gardens and resisting police.

It was claimed that he kicked the dog as it lay in the street and shouted that he would burn down the home of its owner.

Prosecutors contended that the victims nationality was a factor in offences allegedly associated with hate crimes.

During a sentencing hearing defence counsel Richard McConkey stressed his client was remorseful and apologetic for his actions.

Mr McConkey also insisted that Morrison was not a racist.

However, it was accepted by the court that the assault and threats to damage property were aggravated by hostility.

Enhanced terms were imposed on that basis.

Handing down a total sentence of six months imprisonment, the District Judge ordered it to be suspended for three years.

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