A man convicted for racially abusing a General Election candidate in an anonymous phone call left 'a profound effect' on the victim and his family, a court has heard.
Edward Smith (61) anonymously phoned Dublin Fingal People Before Profit candidate John Uwhumiakpor and told him 'Don't get involved in Irish politics. Irish politics is for Irish people.'
Smith claimed he consumed alcohol on the day he made the anonymous phone call and 'lost the run of himself,' Balbriggan District Court heard.
The court heard Mr Uwhumiakpor - who ran in the Dublin Fingal constituency in last year's General Election - received a phone call to his home at 12.26pm on January 29 last year.
The defendant, who was not known to Mr Uwhumiakpor, asked if he was John and then proceeded to say 'Don't get involved in Irish politics. Irish politics is for Irish people.'
The court heard Mr Uwhumiakpor is originally from Nigeria and is an Irish citizen.
'He was a candidate for the People Before Profits political party,' Sergeant Patricia McGarrity told the court.
After Mr Uwhumiakpor reported the menacing phone call to gardai, an investigation was launched and Detective Garda Ross Rowan discovered the mobile phone number was registered to the accused on June 1, 2020.
Det Rowan called to the defendant's home and seized the mobile phone and sim card which had the same number as was used to call Mr Uwhumiakpor.
The defendant made a voluntary caution statement and made full admissions, the court heard.
The 61-year-old, of Carrocot, Mount Talbot in Co Roscommon pleaded guilty to sending a message by telephone which is grossly offensive or menacing to Mr Uwhumiakpor at his home address in Balbriggan, Co Dublin on January 29, 2020.
'He fully apologised to gardai and the injured party,' said Sgt McGarrity.
Defence solicitor Fiona Kelly said the defendant apologised to Mr Uwhumiakpor through gardai as he was told not to make contact with him.
Ms Kelly said the defendant 'consumed alcohol and lost the run of himself.'
'He was out of order and out of line,' said Ms Kelly.
'He accepts what he did was unacceptable and shouldn't have said what he said,' said Ms Kelly.
'He is generally a reserved, quiet man but he got worked up on alcohol,' Ms Kelly continued.
'And he understands the effects his words had on the injured party,' Ms Kelly said, adding the defendant has €800 for Mr Uwhumiakpor and is hoping he won't get a conviction.
'He undertakes not to behave in this fashion again,' said Ms Kelly.
However, Judge Dermot Dempsey said it would be 'a step too far not to convict him.'
'It is a very serious matter and had a very serious and profound effect on the injured party and his family,' the judge said, referring to the Victim Impact Report handed into court.
Judge Dempsey convicted and fined Smith €200 and ordered he pay Mr Uwhumiakpor €600 in compensation.