Suspended sentence for Donegal man who admitted assault and racial abuse

Derry Magistrates Court

A Donegal man who racially abused a mother and daughter on a bus in Derry has received a suspended jail term.

Tony Walls, of Summerhill, Moville, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour and common assault. The charges relate to an incident on October 2, last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the 53-year-old Donegal man got on a bus going from Altnagelvin to Foyle Street and sat down beside the injured party.

The woman was with her three year old daughter at the time and Walls said to her ‘I have a problem with you. You are a white woman with a black baby’.

He also called the injured party a ‘trafficker’ and a ‘contender’.

The woman challenged Walls about the comments he made once they got off the bus at Foyle Street and he pushed her to the chest, causing her to stumble.

Walls was arrested and during police interview claimed he said he had a cousin who had a black boy and the woman must have picked him up wrong.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said the comments made by his client were ‘odious’ and these were made worse by the assault.

He said Walls has a ‘very isolated lifestyle’ and has difficulties with alcohol. Mr Devlin told the court that the 53-year-old has ‘little or no recollection of exactly what he said’ to the injured party.

Suspending a four month jail term for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm ordered Walls to pay £500 compensation to the injured party.

He said it was a ‘disgraceful incident of racial abuse’ and the 53-year-old should be ‘thoroughly ashamed of himself’.