Man attacked with golf club

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Two Inishowen men have been jailed at Letterkenny Circuit Court for assaulting another man with a golf club.

Barry Doherty, Dunross, Culdaff and Ashley Nichol, Bocan, Culdaff were sentenced to three years and two years imprisonment respectively for the assault which took place on September 22nd, 2012.

The court heard how the injured party, Mr Kenneth McFarland, had been in the Carrick Bar, Gleneely celebrating his daughter Erin’s christening.

Her uncle, Aaron Doherty decided to leave his car at his home and Mr McFarland went with him. They stopped to put diesel in the vehicle at Gleneely and saw a Mitsubishi driving past, with Nichol driving. Mr McFarland and Mr Doherty headed in the direction of Carn and saw the other vehicle close behind them.

Mr Doherty’s car was then hit “three or four times” in the rear and both men got out.

Gda Seamus Lyons told the court McFarland was blinded by the lights of the other vehicle and approached the passenger side. Barry Doherty then struck him three or four times with a golf club and he fell to the ground. Barry Doherty also broke the front passenger window of Aaron Doherty’s vehicle with the golf club.

A previous court sitting heard how Nichol also struck the car window with a golf club and did so with such force he broke the head of the club.

Mr McFarland, who was unconscious for a short time was taken to the doctor by Aaron Doherty. He sustained a fracture to his elbow and had reduced feeling in his fingers, as well as bruising. He also had a laceration to the side of his face but prosecuting barrister Patricia McLaughlin said there was no suggestion Barry Doherty hit him there.

The court heard Doherty has 25 previous convictions, including burglary, dangerous driving and assault of a Garda. He is currently in custody in relation to an alleged assault.

Nichol has 30 previous convictions, including burglary and driving while disqualified. He is also in custody in relation to an alleged dangerous driving offence.

Defence barrister for Nichol, Patricia McCallum, said these offences occurred before her client had spent some time in prison for other matters. She said he had seen “men wasting their lives” in prison and it wasn’t something he wished to go back to.

She said the incident was an “act of show,” adding he was susceptible to peer pressure. She said Nichol did get a job, as he told the court in December, as a crab fisher, but this did not work out “through no fault of his own.” Ms McCallum said Nichol has found a “sobering influence” in his girlfriend, who is supporting him. She added he is a elf-taught and gifted mechanic and asked the court to give him a chance.

Defence barrister for Doherty, Mr O’Neill said his client came from a difficult background, although this wasn’t an “excuse.” He said Doherty came over from the UK as a child and was “picked” on due to his accent. He then found himself involved in anti-social elements. Mr O’Neill said Doherty expressed remorse for his actions and a letter from his former employer D & M McKinney Construction described him as “hard working” and “ambitious.”

Judge John O’Hagan referred to the previous records of both men, adding they had both been given a chance by the courts through community service. He pointed out while there were guilty pleas Doherty was considered by the probation service at high risk of reoffending.

He sentenced him to three years in prison for assault, with the last six months suspended and two years for possession of an offensive weapon, to run concurrently. He sentenced Nichol to two years for possession of an offensive weapon, two years for criminal damage, six months for dangerous driving, all to run concurrently and took a charge of driving while disqualified into account.