Student jailed after breaking man’s jaw

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A student who fractured a man’s jaw in three places has been jailed for nine months.

However, 19-year-old Stephen Denis Ryan will not begin his jail term immediately after a judge granted him bail until he has finished his university exams.

Ryan, of Creggan Road, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm on April 29, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard that Ryan had been at Sweet Nightclub in Limavady and in the early hours of the morning he was seen by a police officer punching the injured party once.

It was alleged the man was struck from behind and had “absolutely no opportunity to anticipate the assault or to ward it off”.

As a result the victim sustained a fractured jaw in three places through the wisdom tooth socket.

It was accepted that the teenager had been assaulted by the injured party around ten minutes before. He had been knocked to the ground and sustained two broken teeth.

The court heard that the two men have since made up and the injured party does not want Ryan to receive a custodial sentence.

Passing sentence Derry Crown Court Judge Piers Grant said he was satisified there was a “significant provocation” in the case.

However, he said there was a “cooling off period” between the assault on Ryan and his decision to go after the injured party.

The judge said that courts in Northern Ireland have “made it perfectly clear offences of this type are serious offences”.

He added: “Young men all too frequently come together in groups outside bars and nightclubs, under the influence of substantial quantities of alcohol and engage in violence towards each other”.

Judge Grant said “drunken violence in a public place will not be tolerated” and added that it was “highly dangerous conduct”.

Ryan was released on continuing bail to complete his exams and will begin his sentence on May 2,