Hit man with bottle after being tossed out of bed at Belfray bash

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A thirty-one-year-old County Down man, who hit a friend with a glass bottle after a wedding bash in the Belfray Country Inn in Drumahoe just over two years ago, was ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to the victim at Derry Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The court heard how the injured party suffered cuts and swelling to his head and needed eight stitches after being hit by Michael Baird of Downshire Crescent, Hillsborough, during the incident on September 7, 2014.

The court was told how Baird had reacted violently to being tossed out of his bed after the wedding party.

A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) solicitor told the court how Baird had been asleep having gone to bed fairly early after the wedding celebration at the Belfray Inn where, at around 1.40am, a third party “tossed him out of the bed” in which he had been sleeping.

The court was told how Baird had then picked up a glass bottle and had struck the injured party on the head with it causing what were described as “relatively minor injuries”.

The PPS solicitor told Derry Magistrate’s Court that the injured party needed eight stitches to address the injuries sustained after being struck with the bottle.

The solicitor, however, went on to tell the court how the prosecution accepted that the incident had been “out of character” for Baird.

The PPS solicitor also said that lengthy delays in bringing the case to the stage where it could be disposed of were through no fault of the defendants.

He said the delays had rather been caused by requests for medical information that had not been forthcoming for some time.

Defence counsel for Baird said the events of two years ago had been “very regrettable” for his client.

He told the court it was also regrettable that a friendship of many years had been ended as a result of the incident.

The court was also told how the defendant had no criminal record and that he was also currently in full-time employment.

The defence for Baird asked that his client be given credit for his guilty plea.

He asked Deputy District Judge Terence Dunlop to take into account the “very particular circumstances” of the case and noted that his client hadn’t gone “looking for trouble”.

He also referred to the “inordinate delays” in the case.

Deputy District Judge Dunlop accepted the particular circumstances of the cased, asking: “Who knows how any of us would react when violently aroused from slumber?”

He ordered a compensation of £2,000 be paid to the victim and that Baird be bound over to keep the peace for a year.