Man who damaged plant pots and shouted ‘racist insults’ at a Romanian woman in Ballymena is jailed for eight months after appeal fails

Antrim Courthouse

A MAN who shouted “racist insults” and damaged plants and plant pots belonging to a Romanian woman in Ballymena has been jailed for eight months after an appeal against his sentence failed.

Richard Carlin (44), with an address at Chichester Park East in Ballymena, committed offences at Clarence Street in the town on June 19 this year, Ballymena Magistrates Court was previously told.

He appealed the eight months sentence but at Antrim Courthouse this week the appeal was dismissed and the sentence affirmed.

At the earlier Magistrates Court hearing he had pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the plants and pots; being disorderly and assaulting a police officer.

A prosecutor said the incident was being treated as a “hate crime”.

She said police were called and spoke to Carlin who became increasingly aggressive and was shouting loudly in a residential area.

A Romanian woman told officers Carlin had damaged plant pots and plants outside her property and had “shouted racist insults”.

She showed police images of the defendant she had taken on her phone during the incident.

Whilst being transported to Antrim Police Station the defendant told officers he would “knock them out” and called them names. He struggled and struck an officer.

Police had to divert to Ballymena Police Station and put Carlin in a cell van.

The court heard Carlin initially said the plants and pots had already been strewn on the ground when he arrived at the property.

A defence barrister had told the Magistrates Court Carlin was remorseful and wished to offer an “abject apology” in particular to the “foreign nationals he encountered that night”.

The lawyer said the incident had not been pre-meditated but it appeared that prior to the incident two men had approached Carlin asking for a cigarette and during a tussle he felt they were going to grab his rucksack and after he saw them going into a house “through his drunkenness he acted in an inappropriate manner”.

The barrister said Carlin had a record and “he knows this is the last chance saloon”.

Jailing Carlin for eight months, District Judge Nigel Broderick had told the Magistrates Court he was making a finding that the incident was “aggravated by virtue of hostility” and the defendant had also been in breach of four suspended sentences.

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