A man who violently attacked an elderly driver, who was doing him favour by giving him a lift home from a Christmas night out, was given a ten-month jail sentence, suspended for three years, at Magherafelt Magistrates Court.
Thomas Magryn (39), of Golf Terrace, Magherafelt, was also ordered to pay the 69-year-old victim £500 compensation.
Magryn had pleaded guilty at an earlier court to assaulting the man, causing him actual bodily harm, on December 21 last year.
District Judge Oonagh Mullan said she accepted that it was out of character for the defendant who has shown remorse for his action.
She said it appeared that when he had an excess amount of alcohol on board he became a totally different person.
The judge said the offence merited an immediate custodial sentence but she took into account the defendant had a wife who was dependent upon him for income.
She said she wanted Magryn to reflect upon a victim impact statement which set out the injuries and trauma sustained by the man.
The judge said this included a pre-existing frozen shoulder which has got worse, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping.
“You said you wanted to meet and apologise to the injured party in person but were deterred from doing so at the time,” she said.
“It may still be too traumatic for this man to meet with you but that will be a matter for him.”
An earlier court heard the victim had suffered substantial facial injuries as a result of the assault which happened outside a pub near Toome.
A prosecution lawyer said Magryn then ran off and was later found by police “highly intoxicated” in a field off the Aughrim Road.
She explained forensic examination of blood stains on his clothes linked him with the assault.
Defence barrister Liam McStay, who handed in character references, said Magryn did not have any previous convictions either in Northern Ireland or his native Poland.
He accepts there was no justification for his action, said Mr McStay who pointed out the defendant had consumed nine whiskies in a couple of hours.
The lawyer said the injured party was doing him a favour in giving him a lift home when he lashed out.
“This was out of character for him and he has no record here for such behaviour,” he said. “His work record has been impeccable to date.”
Mr McStay said the defendant has been distressed and deeply ashamed by what he has done.
He said there was no need for intervention as regards alcohol as it does not present as a problem. He pleaded with the court not to impose an immediate custodial sentence .