Five months in prison for assault on support worker

A 29 years-old man who assaulted a support worker at Dunvale House in Derry has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Aaron Dalton of Moss Park, Derry appeared at the local Magistrate’s Court in relation to the offence which occurred in August last year.

The court was told police received a report that the defendant had called to Dunvale House at 7.30 visit his mother and the two of them had gone to the off licence to buy drink. At 11.30pm the injured party heard shouting coming from the communal kitchen. She found the defendant there who told her: “I’ll sort you out if you say anything about my mother.” The court was told this referred to advice given to the defendant’s mother about smoking in her room.

The defendant was then said to have raised his hand and said: “I’ll be back on Friday to sort you out.”

The court was told the injured party felt that if a co-worker had not been with her Dalton would have struck her.

Dalton’s solicitor said his client realised that raising his hand to the support worker constituted an assault.

“Thankfully there were no injuries to the injured party,” he said. “My client is aware of the seriousness of this given that a suspended sentence is in place. Mr. Dalton suffers from depression and anxiety and at the time of this incident he was intoxicated. He knows he should not be drinking with his medication.

“He has now had his medication changed. I appreciate that this is the last chance however I would ask for leniency.”

District Judge Barney McElholm said the offence occurred less than two weeks after a previous suspended sentence had been imposed.

“This was an outrageous threat’ to a member of staff,” he said. “There is no justification.”

He sentenced Dalton to two months in prison and imposed a previous suspended sentence of three months meaning Dalton must serve five months in prison. He was granted leave to appeal and released on his own bail of £500.