Man sent to prison after subjecting female journalist to sectarian abuse

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  By Kevin Welsh
 
Rangers fan and podcaster David Limond has been given a six month jail term after subjecting journalist Angela Haggerty to a torrent of racist and sectarian abuse last September.
 
Mr Limond, 41, was convicted of sending a threatening communication aggravated by racial and religious prejudice in December after a two-day trial, at which Ms Haggerty gave evidence.  On Thursday, Sheriff Scott Pattison delivered the prison sentence alongside a three-year non-harassment order.

At the trial, the court heard a recording of Mr Limond’s Rangers Chat podcast which was broadcast on September 2012, in which a segment called “Taig of the day” featured Ms Haggerty.  The journalist, who works for business magazine The Drum, was targeted by Mr Limond after editing a book about the financial collapse of Rangers Football Club.

In the podcast, Mr Limond sang a jingle in which he repeatedly described Ms Haggerty as “Taig of the day” and “scum of the day”.  The word ‘Taig’ is a derogatory term used in the North of Ireland and Scotland to describe an Irish Catholic, or a person of Irish Catholic heritage.

He then gave listeners Ms Haggerty’s social media details and encouraged them to abuse and harass her on Twitter, prompting a stream of abusive tweets.  “Hit her with everything you’ve got,” Mr Limond said on the programme.  “She’s got to get bang bang bang.”

A short extract from the broadcast

Reacting to news of the sentence, Ms Haggerty said: “I am very happy and relieved that this case has been concluded. I do not think that Mr Limond has any idea of the fear and panic I went through when I heard his podcast.  Giving evidence in court was also very stressful.
 
“Mr Limond referred to me as ‘Taig of the day’ in his podcast last year.  I am glad that the court saw that this was similtaneously a racist and sectarian comment.  I am proud of my Irish heritage and that seems to irk people like Mr Limond in Scotland.
 
“I hope my case encourages other people who are threatened by online bigots and bullies to come forward and seek justice.  I hope Mr Limond, while in prison, will consider his actions and the racial hatred that propelled him to abuse and terrify me.  I now consider the matter to be closed.”

When Ms Haggerty gave evidence in court, she described how the incident had affected her daily life and later described how she often used fake names for hair or taxi appointments out of fear that her real name would be recognised by someone who felt hostility towards her.

The case first came to national attention after Ms Haggerty appeared in a Channel 4 News broadcast about the intimidation of journalists and other professionals connected to the story of the financial collapse of Rangers. 

Mr Limond was arrested by officers from Scotland’s counter-terrorism unit following the Channel 4 News segment.