Bail refused for sectarian abuse

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A 31-year-old man was refused bail on Monday after a High Court judge was told he “seems to be unable to control his temper, drunk or sober”.

Thomas Robert Reid is currently facing a third set of charges against the same woman who lives on Lisburn’s Tonagh estate. Bail was refused by Mr Justice O’Hara, who said the woman in question “deserves to be protected”.

Reid, from Drumannon Park in Portadown, was handed a six-month prison sentence last year for offences arising from the first incident involving the woman in question.

Crown barrister Kate McKay said that last July Reid was “under the influence of drink” and became involved in an argument with a woman he had never met.

On the day in question Reid was “ranting to himself” and started an argument with a resident who came out of her house to pick up rubbish Reid had dropped outside her property.

During this altercation, Reid called her sectarian names and threatened to damage her windows.

Mrs McKay said that due to the sectarian element, this was regarded as a hate crime.

Reid was prosecuted and given a six-month sentence at Lisburn Magistrate’s Court for offences including disorderly behaviour and threatening to damage property.

Mrs McKay said that last month Reid returned to the woman’s home where he again shouted sectarian abuse and threw items at her windows. He is also alleged to have shouted to her, “Six months. I’ll get you back, you b****.”

He was subsequently arrested and was later granted police bail, with one of the conditions that he was banned from going into the Tonagh estate.

On the evening of June 29, a male who was with Reid went to the woman’s address. Whilst Reid did not go up to the house, the other male knocked on her front door.

Telling the court “she was in fear and wouldn’t answer the door”, Mrs McKay said that when the woman’s partner answered he could see Reid standing around 20 meters from the front door. Reid was later arrested for breaching bail.

Mrs McKay said all the incidents have left the woman “extremely distressed and fearful”, added all she did was “pick up a piece of rubbish” discarded by Reid last year who in turn had launched a “campaign of abuse” against her.

The prosecutor branded Reid’s record as “considerable” and said “he seems unable to control his temper drunk or sober.”

Saying the abuse against the woman was sectarian, Mrs McKay said bail was being opposed over concerns he would re-offend and would not adhere to bail conditions.

When asked about the alleged offences on June 29, a defence barrister told Mr Justice O’Hara that his client had no intention of entering the Tonagh estate - but he bumped into an acquaintance who was “worse for wear” so he decided to “do a good deed” and walk him home.

Reid made the case that by walking this other man home via a shortcut, he passed the woman’s house. He also made the case that he didn’t go near her door but rather stood on Longstone Street. Reid’s barrister said he was aware of the bail conditions banning him from entering Tonagh, but “he was given to understand he was allowed to be on Longstone Street but not in the Tonagh estate”.

The barrister said Reid claimed he didn’t know his friend was going to knock the woman’s door, and that he was “brought to police attention as a result of his friend’s actions”. The barrister said Reid “kept his distance” and “did not get involved”.

Saying Reid’s version of events “doesn’t add up”, Mr Justice O’Hara said the accused was a man who “hasn’t learned his lesson” from his previous period of imprisonment.

Telling the court Reid had subjected “an entirely innocent lady” to abuse, Mr Justice O’Hara said he “didn’t believe for a second” Reid’s version of what occurred on June 29. He refused bail.

The Judge said, “I will not grant bail because I am satisfied there is a substantial risk of further offending and a substantial risk of further intimidation of this lady. She deserves to be protected.

“Bail is refused.”