Two men have received suspended jail terms for a ‘nasty’ assault at a Hallowe’en party which left the victim with a fractured eye socket.
Ryan McFeely, (18), of Temple Park, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm on October 31, 2011.
His co-accused, 20-year-old Aaron Wilson, also of Temple Park, admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Derry Magistrate’s Court heard both men were at a Hallowe’en party in the Ballymagroarty area of the city.
There was a ‘misunderstanding’ at the party and the injured party was blamed for an incident, which was not opened to the court.
He was asked to leave the house and McFeely and Wilson followed him.
The court heard the victim could not remember what happened next but he ended up on the ground on top of his girlfriend in an attempt to protect her.
He was assaulted as he lay on the ground and McFeely was doing most of the kicking and punching.
At one stage the victim looked around and was kicked in the face. McFeely and Wilson then left the area.
It was revealed to the court the injured party sustained a fractured eye socket as a result of the assault.
Mark Reel, defending McFeely, said it was ‘clearly a very nasty incident’.
He said there was a misunderstanding at the party and a considerable amount of alcohol had been consumed by all involved.
Mr Reel told the court his clients’ actions ‘must be judged in that context’ and gave an explanation, but not an excuse for what happened.
The barrister said the 18-year-old has no previous convictions and the assault was ‘totally out of character’.
Nicola Rountree, defending Wilson, said it was a ‘nasty incident but it was a one-off, entirely fuelled by alcohol’.
She said the alcohol consumed by her client caused a ‘lack of judgement’ and it was ‘completely out of character’.
Passing sentence, District Judge Barney McElholm said it was a ‘nasty assault’ which resulted in a ‘nasty injury’.
He said the injured party was not at fault, but McFeely and Wilson decided to take the law into their own hands because a rumour had circulated at the party.
The judge added: “If ever there was a case to prove taking the law into your own hands is a bad idea, this is the one because they got it completely wrong”.
He said there was ‘no justification or excuse’ for the defendants’ behaviour.
McFeely received an eight month jail term and Wilson received a six month jail term. Their sentences were suspended for three years.
Judge McElholm warned both men if they came back to court in the next three years they face the prospect of an immediate custodial sentence.