Judge commends brave young man after homophobic abuse

Judge Seamus Hughes has described a story by a young man as “very brave” when he explained how he had been walking home with his boyfriend when he was involved in an incident of homophobic abuse.

Shane Tone, Ferrybank, Graiguecullen in Carlow had been with his boyfriend when he “reacted strongly” to homophobic abuse, solicitor Louis Kiernan said, adding that his client was sorry for what happened.

On November 15 last Garda Neil Donnellan had been on patrol when he saw two men in a dispute at 1.25am on Oliver Plunkett Street, Mullingar. He saw Daniel Lee, 16 Newbrook Grove, Mullingar, hit Mr Tone in the face with his hand.

When Lee was arrested, Tone, who has no previous convictions, ran up and hit him.

Lee has convictions for public order offences, handling stolen property, and taking a bike.

Matt Shaw, solicitor for Lee said he was putting his hands up in relation to the assault, and that he gave as good as he got.

When Judge Hughes said Mr Tone was brave, in conservative Ireland to acknowledge his sexuality in open court, Mr Louis Kiernan agreed that “there are prejudices in modern Ireland”.

The judge said that Mr Tone, who is “slightly built” had jumped in between two burly gardaí and wanted to know why.

“I know I should have walked away, but I just saw red. I won’t do it again,” said the second year journalism student.

He was given the benefit of the Probation Act.

Hoping that Lee’s comments were “a slip of the tongue”, the judge noted that gardaí had been on the spot when the incident occurred and fined Lee €200.

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