Draperstown assault had ‘serious impact’ on victim

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A Draperstown joiner was given a six-month suspended jail sentence at Magherafelt Magistrates Court for what the District Judge called a “serious assault.”

Ruari Hegarty (26), of Cloane Road, was also ordered to pay his victim £750 compensation.

Hegarty admitted assaulting Conor McKenna on June 7 last year, causing him actual bodily harm.

District Judge Alan White remarked that the incident had had a considerable impact on the life of the injured party.

Referring to a victim impact report, Mr White highlighted the potential dangers of single blows to the head.

“It could have had more serious consequences and you would have found yourself before the Crown Court,” he told the defendant.

Mr White remarked he was prepared to accept that it was a one-off incident fuelled by alcohol.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that police were called to Main Street in Draperstown at 3.30am, where they found a male lying on the ground being assisted by two females.

He said the defendant had left the scene in a car a short time before the police arrived but was later interviewed.

The lawyer said Hegarty claimed the injured party had assaulted his brother in the smoking area of a local bar and they were removed from the premises.

The fight continued out on the street during which Hegarty punched the injured party in the face and ran off, added the prosecutor.

Admitting the offence, a defence lawyer said the incident had been out of character for the defendant who was a hard working young man from a good family background.

He said he felt the court may have had an option of dealing with the defendant with a heavy fine but he accepted, given the impact the assault had on the injured party, that this would not be appropriate.

The lawyer said while the defendant had placed himself in a precipitous position, he asked the court to take into consideration Hegarty’s guilty plea and the fact that he has an unblemished record.

Pleading for leniency, he asked the court to leave something hanging over his head as a deterrent.

District Judge White imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for three years.

Mr White also made a compensation order for £750 and remarked that the injured party was entitled to seek full redress for his injuries through the criminal injury scheme.