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Man accused of kicking and punching homeless man in south Belfast 'ashamed', court hears

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Defence counsel Michael Boyd told the court his client comes from an 'affluent background'

Defence counsel Michael Boyd told the court his client comes from an 'affluent background'

Defence counsel Michael Boyd told the court his client comes from an 'affluent background'

A man accused of kicking and punching a homeless man lying in a shop doorway is "ashamed" of his actions, the High Court heard on Tuesday.

Jack Simpson accepts CCTV footage depicts him launching an allegedly unprovoked attack on the man in south Belfast, his lawyer confirmed.

The 26-year-old, of Inverary Avenue in the city, faces a charge of common assault over the early morning incident on February 21.

He is further accused of criminal damage to a police phone smashed up in a custody cell.

During a bail application prosecutors said CCTV operators recorded the victim being targeted as he lay in a doorway at Botanic Avenue.

His assailant struck out without any apparent provocation, punching him twice to the face and then a kick to the side of the head.

Crown lawyer Philip Henry said: "The homeless male was sitting and didn't react to defend himself."

Further kicks were delivered during continued aggression before the attacker walked off.

Simpson was arrested in nearby Shaftesbury Square, based on a description provided to police.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd told the court his client comes from an affluent background.

His life spiraled out of control, however, after he started abusing drugs and alcohol, the lawyer said.

Mr Boyd contended that Simpson had been out drinking and git involved in an argument whom he knew.

"He accepts it was him on CCTV," the barrister said.

"Mr Simpson lost his temper, they were involved in a slanging match and he struck out.

"He's ashamed of himself, and extremely apologetic for what happened. There's no excuse for it."

Adjourning the bail application, Madam Justice McBride requested more information on what support structures are in place for the accused.

Describing the attack as "nasty", she added: "It's an aggravating factor that this man was homeless and on the street."