After calling a man a ‘dirty wee queer’ a 22-year-old man head-butted him leaving his victim with a suspected broken nose and chipped teeth.
Stefan Scappaticci, Millar Park, Laurencetown, was sentenced to six months in prison last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court for assault occasioning actual bodily harm on November 16 last year.
He was also ordered to pay the injured party £1,000 compensation.
The court heard that at 11.20pm the defendant and the injured party were in a bar in Banbridge when the injured party and a friend left.
Scappaticci followed them and words were exchanged.
It was claimed that the defendant made homophobic comments before head-butting the injured party in the face.
The victim suffered a suspected broken nose, black eyes and chipped and fractured teeth.
When question Scappaticci said: “What did I do?”
He claimed he had been provoked by the injured party who had been ‘mouthing at me and just kept going’.
CCTV from a shop showed Scappaticci adopting an aggressive stance before the head-butting. The friend of the victim attempted to hit him with her handbag but he ducked out of the way.
A public prosecutor said that the injured party alleged that the defendant had made homophobic comments towards him before the assault.
In his statement he claimed that Scappaticci said: “You’re one of those homos, a dirty wee queer.” A barrister representing the defendant said his client and the injured party did not know each other but were just drinking in the same bar.
He explained that Scappaticci had been drinking to excess after he had been told by a girlfriend with whom he had a relationship that he was not the father of her child.
The lawyer said he had gone out to abuse alcohol and when he got into this condition he was out of control. The injured party had said something to him in the toilet but this was just out of jest.
He added that Scappaticci would say he was not homophobic and that his uncle was gay and he has friends who are gay. District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said the custody threshold had been well met in this case but he would take into account the plea of guilty.
He pointed out that Scappaticci had a history of violent behaviour. He had 14 previous convictions and had been dealt with by multiple community based orders including suspended sentences.
Judge Copeland said this assault was particularly violent and was aggravated by homophobic intent.
The defedant was released on his own bail of £500 pending appeal.