A Portadown man who chased a Romanian national with a hatchet before racially insulting him has been sentenced to seven months in prison.
The 32-year-old, who is a member of the traveller community, appeared before court with 114 previous convictions.
Patrick Joseph Ward, 32, of Garvaghy Park, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon, common assault and disorderly behaviour at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday.
It was heard that on July 12, at around 9.40pm, police received a report regarding the defendant and another male, later identified as his brother.
The person who contacted police stated the two men had attacked her and her Romanian partner with a hatchet.
She explained that Ward’s brother had initially started an argument with the injured parties in their front garden.
Later he went to the property with the defendant.
Ward’s brother then pulled a hatchet from his trouser leg, which he handed to the defendant, who then proceeded to chase the Romanian national around a car.
The injured parties managed to get back into their home without suffering injury.
The two men then began to threaten and shout expletives, using the phrases, “foreigners go home” and “you’ll see me soon”.
Police then arrived and arrested the Ward and his brother.
During a search, officers found two hatchets.
Prosecution stated that the whole incident had occurred in full view of children.
During interview, Ward stated he had been asleep at home after taking medication before he was awoken by his brother, who told him that he was in trouble.
The defendant said he then followed his brother to find him surrounded by a group of men and women.
Ward claimed he had tried to break the arguments up when his brother pulled out a hatchet and began to chase the Romanian national.
Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “Mr Ward had been on bail for this offence but was arrested ten days ago for other matters”.
He added that a pre-sentence report was not being sought as “it is just a question of how long” the defendant would spend in prison.
Mr Lunny conceded that Ward was “no stranger to court process” having a previous conviction count of “114 strong”.
Deputy District Judge Brian Archer stated: “This must have been an appallingly frightening incident for the injured party.”
Mr Lunny commented that the defendant had not initiated this attack but accepted “this wasn’t his fight to fight”.
He also said Ward admitted using racial slurs, which he was ashamed of as he himself had been subject to the same treatment as a member of the travelling community.
Judge Archer stated: “He needs to learn to treat others the way he would like to be treated”.
He branded the incident “disgusting behaviour” and commented that Ward was lucky his only live suspended sentence had been imposed after this offence.
The defendant was sentenced to seven months in prison.
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