Suspended jail for assaults

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When an offensive remark was made to his girlfriend a 24-year-old man assaulted three men, leaving one with bleeding inside his nose.

Declan McVeigh, Island Hill Manor, Lurgan, admitted two common assaults on two males and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on another man on February 1 this year.

For the two assaults he was sentenced to two months in prison on each and for the more serious offence he was sentenced to four months. The sentences are to run concurrently and suspended for 12 months. McVeigh was also ordered to pay £400 compensation to the victim of the serious assault charge.

The court heard that on February 1 this year at 2.45am police were called to a disturbance in William Street, Lurgan. One of the injured parties said he had been punched by the defendant and had his jacket ripped. Another injured party approached police. He was bleeding heavily from the nose and identified McVeigh as the person who had assaulted him. Another male who tried to intervene was punched around the nose and left eye and was knocked to the ground. He covered up in the foetal position and received a number of blows to the body but he could not identify who was responsible. A hospital examination revealed the victim had swelling to his left eye and nose and swelling inside both nasal passages. The other two injured parties received bumps to the head.

McVeigh was arrested and cautioned and he said: “I acted in self-defence. He went for me so I punched him.”

A barrister representing the defendant said McVeigh was involved in gaelic sport and football. He added that an option of self-defence was not open to him because after the initial altercation he chased an injured party down the street and into the Shankill area. The lawyer said an offensive remark had been made to McVeigh’s girlfriend which resulted in him reacting in the way he did.

Judge Mervyn Bates said it was a ‘sad and very sorry episode in your life’ after a very offensive remark had been made.