A man has avoided a jail sentence after subjecting a same-sex male couple to a sustained period of sectarian and homophobic abuse. The Co Tyrone man was ordered to pay compensation to his victims.
Joseph Ernest Moses (53) from Letfern Road, Seskinore, initially denied the harassment of the couple last year. This harassment took place two weeks after he physically assaulted one of the men. Moses later changed his plea before a contested hearing.
The court heard that in May of last year the police attended a scene where one of the victims had been assaulted. Around 3pm one afternoon, the victims had returned home and heard Moses shouting homophobic slurs. The victims then confronted Moses which led to continued abuse being shouted and even a ‘gun gesture’ being made towards the pair. Moses then punched one of the men cutting his lower lip.
The sectarian and homophobic abuse then continued for around 20 minutes, even while the victims were speaking to the police.
During an interview in police custody, a lawyer for Moses denied any suggestion that he had made homophobic remarks but later accepted that he did. The lawyer went on to say that Moses “does not harbour any views of that nature.” During this interview, Moses denied the claims against him.
“It’s very difficult to offer an explanation as to why my client resorted to behave in the fashion, he did,” the defence for Moses said. “I’ve no doubt alcohol was perhaps a factor as regards the negative and very derogatory comments … It has been brought home to him it is not permissible to engage in this type of behavior to anybody and the courts will not tolerate it.”
The defence also recognised that Moses has previous convictions but none of which were related to either party involved.
A guilty plea was accepted by District Judge Mark McGarrity which meant the victims did not have to give evidence in court. He also took into account the “remorse and regret” outlined in a pre-sentence report in relation to Moses.
Moses was handed a combined prison sentence of eight months which was suspended for three years. The two men were also granted a restraining order and £350 each in compensation.
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