A BALLYMENA man who claimed he had been "brain-washed" by social media before he painted the letters 'KKK' on a vacant next door house after hearing a 'foreign national' was due to move in, has now completed Community Service he had been ordered to do for the offence.
Albert Boyd (38), of Centuripe Avenue, had been brought back to court charged with breaching the Court Order which involved him having to complete a total of 100 hours of unpaid work but the breach proceedings have now been withdrawn as the hours have now been done by the defendant.
At Ballymena Magistrates Court (main picture), in 2020, Boyd was given Community Service after he had pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage.
The guilty plea was entered to a charge that on December 14, 2019, the defendant caused damage to a door, window and walls of a house at Centuripe Avenue.
A prosecution lawyer said it was a “hate crime”.
The court in 2020 heard the defendant had “painted ‘KKK’ on a foreign national’s property”.
The prosecutor added: "It was a vacant property. A foreign national was due to move into that property the following day. The matter is being prosecuted as being aggravated by hostility."
A defence barrister told the 2020 court the defendant believed he was being "brain-washed by the amount of social media that he was consuming at the time and he was accepting at face value a lot of anti-immigration and similar types of posts.
"That then led him to carry out the offence because he feared the house next door was going to become a multi-occupancy address and that there may be foreign nationals moving into the area.
"That fear was baseless in that there was no suggestion that anything had happened to him that would give him reasonable cause for concern.
"It simply was a consumption of negative social media views which then manifested itself in a stupid decision by Mr Boyd to paint this on an empty house next door.
"It is not a very sensible thing for Mr Boyd to have done. Thankfully, there was no one in the address that had to move out as a result of his actions but certainly there may have been a delay to the use of the property by the Housing Executive."
In 2020, District Judge Nigel Broderick told Boyd: "This is a very serious incident, I have seen the photographs and you have painted this house with very gratuitous remarks and I'm satisfied that the offence is aggravated by virtue of hostility".