Suspended jail term for man who punched railway worker

Craigavon Courthouse. INPT21-239.
Craigavon Courthouse. INPT21-239.

A man who punched an employee of Northern Ireland Railways 12 times has been given a suspended prison sentence.

John O’Connor (52), Parkside, Craigavon, pleaded guilty to assaulting Rui Leal on January 4, 2014 and using derogatory language in regard to his Portuguese nationality.

Police who attended the scene found blood on the ground and on a lamppost that the victim had fallen against during the attack.

The defendant told police he had been acting in self-defence.

A defence solicitor said his client suffered from depression and since losing his job had been unable to find employment. He also has a problem with alcohol.

District Judge Mervyn Bates said the language used referred to the injured party’s race and there were some injuries. However, he said the defendant was remorseful, had a clear record for the past 14 years and was dealing with his problems.

He sentenced him to four months in custody, suspended for three years, and ordered him to pay compensation of £250 to Mr Leal.