Derry’s District Judge Barney McElholm has said if there had been any evidence linking an assault on a man to his subsequent death the next day the defendant would have been facing murder or manslaughter charges.
Aaron Greenwood (33) of Butler’s Wharf in Derry admitted assaulting Terence McCartney on February 5 last year.
Before CCTV was shown to the court of the incident the family of the dead man were asked did they wish to leave the court.
After the CCTV was shown showing Greenwood assaulting Mr. McCartney in the Guildhall Square in a one punch attack from behind a prosecuting solicitor said that police received a 999 call stating a man had been assaulted.
They spoke to Mr. McCartney who had grazes on his cheek and chin but he declined police assistance.
The injured party was found dead in his flat that evening.
Defence solicitor Mr. Eugene Burns said his client offered his sympathy to the dead man’s family.
He said that Greenwood fully accepts his responsibility and added that he was sorry for the pain and discomfort the dead man’s family had endured.
The solicitor said that Greenwood was still struggling to come to terms with his behaviour and that he was ‘troubled and distressed due to the tragic consequences.’
Judge McElholm said he had no evidence linking the assault to the death of Mr. McCartney.
He added that he did have was a case where someone ‘came up behind someone and punched without warning.’
He said it was a ‘cowardly and unprovoked attack’ and added that the injured party seemed to be in ‘good spiirit’s the CCTV and ‘was not in the slightest bit aggressive’.
He sentenced Greenwood to four months in prison suspended for three years.