Belfast Telegraph

Drunk who damaged man's car denies a homophobic motive

By Nevin Farrell

A woman has been accused of making a homophobic remark by allegedly shouting that she didn't like living near a "pervert" while attacking a man's vehicle.

Eileen Mary Magdalene Laverty (60) from Ballymena appeared at the town's Magistrates Court where she pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the vehicle during a drink-fuelled incident on September 8, which she claimed was a row over a parking space.

Prosecutors previously said the case was being brought forward as a "hate crime", but at yesterday's hearing District Judge Peter King heard the guilty plea had been entered on the basis that the incident was not motivated by hostility.

A prosecutor said the vehicle owner reported it had been damaged.

She added a neighbour said that during the incident she heard Laverty shouting that she didn't like living close to a "pervert".

A defence lawyer said: "It was possibly something that was said in the heat of the moment, without malice, with alcohol taken."

She said damage to the vehicle was caused in the early hours when Laverty had been drinking.

The lawyer said her client was aware of the sexual orientation of the man but denied being homophobic.

The court heard that in his statement to police the victim claimed that on previous occasions the defendant had referred to him as a "queer b*****d".

Laverty's lawyer said the defendant claimed others referred to the man as "queer b*****d" but her client could not recall using the term and it was "not a comment she would normally make".

Judge King said the allegation was that it was "hostility based on sexual orientation", but a guilty plea had been entered on the basis that there was "no hostility".

The judge adjourned the case saying he would like to hear from the injured party and the witness to get more information before he sentenced the defendant.

Belfast Telegraph

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