Assaulted teen left with fractured jaw

A man who left a teenager with a fractured jaw has been ordered to spend three years on probation.

Aidan James Cleary, whose address was given on court papers as Scutchers Lane, Draperstown, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and common assault.

The charges relate to an incident in a bar in Claudy on October 15, 2011.

Derry Crown Court heard that the injured party, a 17-year-old man, was in Dan’s Bar on Main Street in the village on the night of the assault.

He was in the smoking area when Cleary approached him and punched him in the face for no reason.

The teen fell to the ground and door staff intervened. Cleary struck out at a doorman several times during a struggle.

The court was told the doorman did not sustain any injuries in the assault but the teenager sustained a fractured jaw.

It was revealed he had to have surgery to have a plate inserted to the jaw and for a time “was only able to take food through a straw”. He has since made a good recovery.
Cleary was arrested and during interview admitted he had no reason for hitting the teen. However, he said the incident was “hazy” because of the amount of alcohol he had consumed.

The court heard the 27-year-old has a relevant record, with 58 previous convictions.

A defence barrister told the court the assault was “unprovoked, however it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t sustained and there was no gratuitous violence”.

He added the 27-year-old was “shocked and disturbed by his behaviour” and asked police to apologise to the injured party.

The barrister said his client has made attempts to change his lifestyle and has received counselling for his alcohol addiction.

Imposing a three year probation order, Judge Piers Grant said he accepted this incident was “out of character” for Cleary.

He said he was going to “take something of a risk” and allow Cleary to continue counselling and “those working with you to bring you back onto the straight and narrow”.