Man sentenced after party assault

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A 19-YEAR-OLD Magherafelt man forgiven by a man whose jaw was fractured in two places following a drunken row, was ordered to serve nine months detention followed by nine months supervised licenced parole last Thursday.

Londonderry Crown Court Judge Piers Grant told Steven Rutter that “there is more to this case than meets the eye”.

Mr Rutter, from Leckagh Walk pleaded guilty to assaulting the man during a party at his mum’s house on July 30 last year.

Judge Grant said it was quite clear that Mr Rutter and others had consumed a substantial amount of drink which had led to aggression, but that in no way could justify what later happened.

The judge said that “drunken violence”, particularly where punches and kicks were used on person on the ground, must attract condine punishment to deter others from behaving in the same manner.

Judge Grant said although it was clear the injured party, who had suffered significant serious injuries, had forgiven Mr Rutter, it would be “quite inappropriate to impose anything other than an immediate custodial sentence”.

Earlier prosecution lawyer George Chesney told the court that as the injured party was leaving the party shortly after midnight, he was approached by a drunken Mr Rutter who punched him to the ground.

Although the victim, who also had drink taken, managed to regain his feet, he was punched again and while on the ground Rutter kicked him up to three times.

Mr Chisney said although the man later discovered his jaw had been fractured in two places, the prosecution could not say if the injuries resulted either from him falling down, the punches or the kicks.

Defence lawyer Liam McStay, who handed in a number of references, said that a genuinely remorseful Mr Rutter accepted he was “the one who behaved aggressively”.

However, the lawyer said the horrendous events of that night were borne out of drink which led to a frought atmosphere in which sectarian remarks, bantering or otherwise were made.

Mr McStay also revealed Mr Rutter had written a letter of apology for the injured party who bears him no ill-will.