Men were attacked with hammer at housing complex

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A 24-year-old who assaulted two men with a hammer has received a suspended jail term.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that the victims of the assault sustained a broken finger and a broken ankle as a result of the assault. A third man, who was punched in the face did not sustain any injury.

Daryl O’Hagan, of Drumard park, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault on February 16, last year.

The court heard that the incident took place in the Rockmills complex and was initiated by another man who tried to steal one of the victims mobile phone. Friends tried to intervene and O’Hagan punched one of them in the face.

The two other victims were hit with a hammer. As the struggle continued O’Hagan shouted get the hammer, get the hammer’ and he and the co-accused ran off leaving the hammer behind them.

Defence cousnel Steven Mooney said the court has a stark decision ‘whether to send this man immediately to jail or leave something hanging over his head’.

He said O’Hagan did not start the incident but ‘did finish it’ when he assaulted the victims.

Mr Mooney added that the 24-year-old ‘should not have got involved’ but it was ‘not a case that he was out in the street stalking members of the public to attack’.

The barrister told the court by his plea of guilty O’Hagan had saved a lot of court time and the victims would never have to come and give evidence. He urged the judge to give his client credit for this.

He also revealed that o’Hagan served a ‘significant time in custody’ after this assault and has not come to any adverse police attention since his release.

Mr Mooney said his client became a father over a month ago and this has helped to keep him out of trouble.

Passing sentence, District Judge Eamon King told the 24-year-old he is ‘rather lucky’ the case was being dealt with in the magistrates court instead of the crown court.

He said this was a ‘terrible attack and an attack involving the use of a weapon’ which should attract an immediate custodial sentence.

However, the judge said he would ‘stay my hand’ because of all he had heard about O’Hagan.

Suspending a six month sentence for two years, Judge King told O’Hagan ‘you are now a father of a child, Your partner will need assistance bringing that child up. If you get yourself involved in this sort of conduct again, someone else will be bringing up your child and when you get out of prison that child won’t know you’.