Belfast Telegraph

Teenager accused of racist assault is released on bail

By Paul Higgins

A teenager accused of punching a man in the head during a racist attack has been freed on bail.

Scott McKeown  was charged with inflicting actual bodily harm on Tonderai Msonza on May 24 this year.

The 19-year-old, who appeared in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court in a white T-shirt and blue shorts, is also accused of having a stick with intent to cause actual bodily harm and behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred.

Mr Msonza was targeted as he was walking along the Lagan towpath in Lisburn when three men shouted racist obscenities before attacking him.

He was punched a number of times in the head before he escaped his alleged attackers.

Mr Msonza sought refuge in a restaurant in the Bridge Street area, from where he was taken to hospital for treatment to non-life-threatening injuries.

Yesterday a police constable told the court he believed he could connect McKeown, from Hill Street in Lisburn, to the charges. His solicitor asked for legal aid to be granted as McKeown neither works nor receives benefits.

Granting legal aid, District Judge Rosemary Watters adjourned the case until July 7.

Two days after the incident last month, 22-year-old Thomas David Finn, from Linen Court, Linenhall Street in Armagh, was charged with similar offences.

Finn faces further accusations that he threatened to kill the alleged victim and assaulted a police officer.

A 16-year-old boy, who was also arrested and questioned in relation to the racially-motivated attack, was released on police bail pending further enquiries.

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