Belfast Telegraph

Homeless man attacked as he lay in a sleeping bag on Botanic Avenue in Belfast, court hears

A homeless man was kicked and punched as he lay in a sleeping bag on a Belfast street, a court heard on Wednesday.

The victim made no attempt to defend himself during an unprovoked and random attack at Botanic Avenue on Tuesday morning, police said.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a 26-year-old man accused of inflicting violence on him.

Jack Simpson, of Inverary Avenue in the city, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with common assault.

He also faces a further count of criminal damage to a phone belonging to the PSNI.

Opposing his release from custody, an investigating officer claimed he poses a risk to the public.

She said: "This was an unprovoked attack on a vulnerable homeless person captured on CCTV.

"It was very violent, the person did not even defend himself."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told police believe it was a random incident.

The officer alleged: "Police captured the defendant (on CCTV) standing, with the injured party on the ground in a sleeping bag.

"He (Simpson) then unleashes an attack, punching and kicking."

Defence counsel Michael Boyd confirmed his client denies carrying out the assault.

"He has made the case that it isn't him on the CCTV," the barrister said.

"It was a despicable attack on a homeless person, whoever perpetrated it, but he is entitled to the presumption of innocence."

However, denying bail, Mrs Bagnall held there was a case to be answered.

She remanded Simpson in custody to appear again by video link next month.

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