| 15.6°C Belfast

Belfast man jailed for racially harassing neighbours

Close

In a separate incident, John Bowers was seen throwing a puppy dog on the ground on its back (stock photo)

In a separate incident, John Bowers was seen throwing a puppy dog on the ground on its back (stock photo)

In a separate incident, John Bowers was seen throwing a puppy dog on the ground on its back (stock photo)

An east Belfast man who racially harassed his neighbours for years has been jailed for 10 months.

Prosecutors said John Bowers called one woman's family "f****** blacks" and told them to return to their "home country".

He also banged on another man's door, shouting that he shouldn't be in Northern Ireland.

In a separate incident, Bowers was seen throwing a puppy dog on the ground on its back.

The 31-year-old, of Albertbridge Road in the city, pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment, common assault and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he subjected the two neighbours racial abuse over a three-year period from May 2015 to August 2018.

The offences were aggravated by racial hostility, a Crown lawyer said.

One of the victims made a 999 call that Bowers, who lived in the flat below, was banging on his door and issuing threats.

"He was telling him to get his family out, that they shouldn't be living in Northern Ireland," the prosecutor submitted.

A woman living in the area was also repeatedly targeted.

On one occasion Bowers was drinking and racially abused her as she returned home, the court heard.

He tried to prevent her getting into her flat where her young children were, as well as throwing stones at the windows and kicking the door.

"She reported that for the last three years her family had been racially harassed by the defendant," the lawyer added.

"He called them f****** blacks and told them to go back to their home country."

District Judge Mark Hamill heard Bowers was seen grabbing a Staffordshire-type pup by the scruff of the neck and throw it over a garden wall near his home on April 11, 2018.

He then lifted the dog up a second time and threw it down on it's back.

During a subsequent argument he picked up a branch and hit another man on the shoulder, according to the prosecution.

Defence barrister Sean Mullan detailed his client's battle with alcohol addiction.

"He's keen to draw a line under all these matters," counsel said.

Imposing five months custody for the offences, Mr Hamill ordered Bowers to serve a further five months from previously suspended prison terms.

The judge also imposed two-year restraining orders for the racially-aggravated harassment, and banned Bowers from keeping any animal for five years.

Belfast Telegraph