A DRUNKEN Ballymena man who used “offensive sectarian language” in the presence of members of the public during the week of this year’s North West 200 event in Portrush has been ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Kurt Graham (22), with an address listed as Holland Park, assaulted a man and used disorderly behaviour on May 17 this year.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday he was also put on Probation for a year with a condition that he attends a programme regarding alcohol.
He had been on a suspended eight months prison term which was extended for a further three years as District Judge Peter King told him he had “missed prison by a whisker”.
A prosecutor said police were on patrol around 10.30pm on the date in question during the North West 200 event when they saw Graham acting aggressively at Coleraine Road in Portrush and trying to lash out at another male.
When approached by police he said: “F**king Feni*ns, you are a bunch of f**king w*nkers”.
Police said the area was busy with members of the public.
The court heard Graham later apologised and said he couldn’t remember what he had done.
A defence solicitor said it was an “abhorrent set of facts” and said alcohol was a “big factor” in Graham – who is father to a 13-month old child – amassing a record.
He said Graham, who had a complex mental health background, had made admissions to the “slurs”.
The lawyer said the defendant hoped to get a referral to the Community Addictions Team.
“He can’t remember the day in question, he was so inebriated,” the solicitor continued.
The lawyer said the recent drug-related deaths of two of the defendant’s friends had had a “particular impact” on him.
The solicitor said rather than jailing him “the criminal justice system would be served best if Mr Graham can get to grips with his alcohol”.
Judge King said the defendant had 22 previous convictions including a case involving an imitation firearm and last August he was given an eight months jail term, suspended for two years.
Then, in May this year he breached that with “offensive sectarian language and this took place at the North West event which was bringing tourists and families into the area”.
He said such behaviour “can never be condoned”.
The judge told Graham he had “family and caring obligations you need to get your head around” and told him he needed to “very seriously address” his issues.