Man fined for assault

A Buncrana 23-year-old has been fined and ordered to pay compensation after he assaulted a Gleneely man.

James McLaughlin, Drumfad, Linsfort had the charge of assault causing harm to Daragh Canny, Gleneely reduced to assault at Buncrana District Court on Thursday.

Buncrana Garda Inspector David Murphy told the court that on October 3rd, 2011 at 3.30am, Garda Jason Conroy received a report of an injured male at St Mary’s Road, Buncrana.

When he attended the scene, he saw Mr Canny, who was unconscious but disorientated. He also had a cut to the back of his head. His friends told the Garda Mr Canny had fallen off the back of a high wall. The court was told the wall was 10ft high and Mr Canny had fractured his skull.

His father later reported that his son, who was in the High Dependancy Unit in hospital, had been assaulted. Garda Conroy obtained CCTV, in which Mr Canny and McLaughlin could be seen walking down an alleyway, one after another.

“Mr Canny sustained punches at the hands of Mr McLaughlin,” said Insp Murphy.

He was later found by his friends, who sat him on a wall. Mr Canny then fell off the wall, sustaining the injury to his head.

McLaughlin was later interviewed and made no comment to some questioning. He did concede he was the person on CCTV. The court heard McLaughlin declined to accept the injuries Mr Canny sustained were as a result of his actions, but were in fact, as a result of the fall. The court heard Mr Canny spent seven days in Letterkenny General Hospital and had fractured his skull. He was drunk on the night; and he made a full recovery afterwards.

McLaughlin has previous convictions for motoring offences.

Defence solicitor Pat McMyler said his client alleged he was “insulted” and words were exchanged.

He conceded he went down the alleyway but claimed he did not follow him down and that he did assault Mr Canny.

Mr McMyler said his client had entered an early guilty plea, but did not believe he was guilty of assault causing bodily harm.

The court was told McLaughlin had brought 2000 euro to court as way of a gesture to Mr Canny.

Mr McMyler said: “He had a bit of a temper, but had settled down now. The charge of causing the head injury could not and would not stand up.”

Judge Paul Kelly said there was “some question” over the connection between the assault and the fall.

He said: “It’s unfortunate the wall was 10 foot off the ground and one has to ask had be not been assaulted, would he have suffered the fall and the injury? It’s not entirely unconnected, but it would be very difficult to connect the accused with causing that particular injury. Nonetheless he did assault him.”

Judge Kelly pointed out how McLaughlin possessed previous offences which were unrelated to violence and has “made a new life in the UK.”

He reduced the charge to assault and told McLaughlin to pay 2000 to Mr Canny.

He also directed that McLaughlin pay 500 euro out of 600 euro he had lodged as bail money to Mr Canny. The remaining 100 euro is to be paid by way of a fine.

Judge Kelly also ordered McLaughlin to pay 243 euro in medical expenses.