100 hours for 'wreck Alliance office' post

Published Thursday, 01 August 2013
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A man who posted a Facebook suggestion about "wrecking" Alliance Party offices has been given 100 hours community service.

100 hours for 'wreck Alliance office' post
The comments were made on 3 December last year. (© UTV)

Robert Horner issued obscene comments online following the decision to restrict flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall. The 21-year-old, of Carnhill Place, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, claimed he acted in a moment of anger.

Horner admitted a charge of improper use of public electronic communications.

His comments were made on 3 December last year - hours after councillors in Belfast voted on the controversial flag issue.

The decision to only fly the Union flag on designated days led to widespread loyalist protests and threats and violence directed at Alliance representatives.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard on Thursday how a co-accused first posted comments on the party's Facebook page.

Horner then responded to that expletive-ridden outburst with his own suggestion. A prosecution lawyer said he posted: "Should wreck their office in Carrick."

Police subsequently searched his home and arrested him for the alleged offence.

"He stated that he commented as everyone else was making similar comments," the prosecution representative told the court.

"He said he thought he was making a private comment on a friend's Facebook page."

According to the defence Horner believed his account was set to private.

"He essentially jumped on the bandwagon and made this comment in an act of stupidity or an act of bravado in relation to other comments made by friends," his lawyer said.

"He certainly didn't believe that particular comment would have found its way onto the Alliance Party Facebook account."

Horner, an unemployed man, was said to be extremely apologetic for acting "in the heat of the moment".

The court heard he is in a mixed-religion relationship and belongs to no political party or cultural organisation.

Deputy District Judge Bonita Boyd accepted a recommendation that he should carry out community service.

Sentencing Horner to 100 hours, she told him: "You are going to have to do unpaid work."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
5 Comments
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (444 days ago):
Joan in Belfast why mention the DUP? For what its worth I believe they do even more damage to this country than Alliance. They would also be some of the people who stir up trouble I was refering to. A Labour forum might be a step in the right direction. (A real representative forum not a collection of union reps from the loony left) Oh and Joan I do realise we live in a divided society but I also know that the "troubles" or to call it what it is the management and pandering to of sectarian hatred and ignorance has for to long been given priority of our time. Do you believe compromise is the way forward or is that just a nice soundbyte. I think the way forward is reducing rates, getting the shipyard back in order (maybe a military contract), fixing our industry while developing our white colar and IT sectors. Sorting out our road infastructure, reducing the bloated civil service whilst ensuring private sector jobs are there for them to move into (this will create a more sustainable and stable economy), getting our young adults of drugs starting with temazepam and giving more attention to their mental health. Getting our policing priorities right. Just a few of the many ideas I have that might help. I wish I had the money to stand for election because I am sick of the mistakes, the religion and the BS
Joan in Belfast wrote (445 days ago):
Taxi Paul im working class and so are my friends, we support the Alliance party, they are not crowd pleasers like the DUP and realise that we live in a divided society therefore compromise is the way forward.
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (445 days ago):
Well done you gat a keyboard warrior. Have you got the people who really wrecked an alliance office? Have you got the people who torched a police car and nearly killed that policewoman? Have you got the those who taught the people of this country civil disobedience for thirty years and then did a pontius pilate? It seems unfair that politicians can stir up trouble and get away with it while 21 year old kids get hammered for having an opinion. Does anyone really believe his fantasy posturing could have been acted out or he had any real influence on anyone? Just another scapegoat to satisfy the poor little rich kids of the Alliance party who cant understand why the working class dont support them anymore.
bigmac in Belfast wrote (445 days ago):
A moment of anger or I'm so sorry your honor I was durnk I only had about 12 pints I don't know what came over me,same old c*** every time.
justice????? in Belfast wrote (445 days ago):
absolute disgustingly light sentence for this bigot!!! advocating an attack on a democratically elected persons office and 100 hours community service??? the judge should immediately be asked how this sentence is commensurate with the deed!!!! and if necessary the sentence should be dramatically increased and the judge removed from the post!!!!!
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