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Man jailed for seven weeks for verbally abusing local councillor’s partner

Henrietta Ronson April 21, 2009
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A man who taunted the partner of a local councillor with homophobic abuse has been jailed for seven weeks.

Christoper Small, 30 of Dent Street, Hartlepool, was jailed after pleading guilty to two counts of using threatening and abusive words.

According to the Hartlepool Mail, the heroin addict had repeatedly taunted Christopher Akers-Belcher who is the partner of Hartlepool councillor, Stephen Akers-Belchen on two separate occasions.

In a statement to the court, the victim said that the incidents had left him “feeling as if I can’t move freely around the town for fear of abuse”.

Prosecutor Zeenat Begum added: “He has been left feeling very intimidated.”

Small first targeted Akers-Belcher on May 13th, 2008, in Victoria Road, Hartlepool.

The court was told that Small was pedalling along on his bicycle “leaning right into the complainant’s face”.

Ms Begum said that Akers-Belcher was “approached by the defendant who said ‘you are a gay boy aren’t you?’

The defendant continued: “Have you got a boyfriend? Do you want me to be your boyfriend?”

It was not until September 12th that the police arrested Small after he repeated another verbal assault on Akers-Belcher in York Road, Hartlepool.

Having been abused with homophobic taunts like “poofter” and “gay boy”, Akers-Belcher was left so distressed that he stopped a passing patrol car and tracked down his attacker.

Small was previously convicted for disorderly behaviour in January 2008 and was fined £50. He was also ordered to pay £50 in costs and £15 for the victim surcharge.

Small’s lawyer Andrew Blair defended his clients actions stating that he had a “long term addiction to heroin” and was responding to methadone treatment and successfully addressing alcohol issues.

Mr Blair said: “He does wish to apologise for his behaviour on these particular occasions. With a sober mind he can see that the words he used were not only inappropriate but could have been hurtful, but were somewhat childish in nature.”

Mr Blair told the court he intended to appeal against the sentence given to Small, however, an application for bail has been refused by magistrates.

Christopher Akers-Belcher said of the sentence: “I am a person who believes in respect and justice.

“Justice has been done and I would like to thank the police for the excellent support and help given. I stood up for what is right. No-one in the community should be subject to bullying and harassment.”

Related topics: England

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