Suspended sentence for ‘shameful’ and ‘appalling’ assaults

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

The victim of an unprovoked assault who sustained a brain injury two years ago, is ‘still not himself’, a court has heard.

Derry Crown Court was told the injured party showed ‘great generosity’ towards his attacker, 20-year-old Jack Bergin and said he did not want him to go to jail and ‘change his life forever.’

Bergin, of Cypress Grove, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on June 18, 2016.

The court heard that the victim of the more serious assault sustained bleeding to his brain and a broken nose; lacerations to his forehead and nose as well as abrasions to his chin and to the tip of his nose.

He sustained a brain injury from which he is still recovering and reports that he is ‘still not himself’ two years on.

Another man sustained a laceration to his lip and the inside of his mouth.

The court was told there was an exchange between Bergin and one of the men outside Sugar Nightclub in the early hours of the morning.

Bergin pushed him during the brief exchange.

The other injured party intervened in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

Bergin hit the man and he sustained the cuts to the inside and outside of his lip.

The 20-years-old chased the other injured party into the middle of the street and threw punches at him until he collapsed on the ground.

Bergin left his victim lying on the road, stepped over him and ran off.

The court heard the whole incident lasted seconds and Bergin later claimed he behaved in this way as a result of jealousy and a sense of disrespect.

It was revealed the university student has no previous convictions and has been assessed as a low likelihood of committing further offences.

Passing sentence, Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey said neither of the victims ‘provoked or antagonised’ Bergin’s behaviour on the night in question.

She added that it was not a case of a single blow, but ‘several blows.’

However, the judge accepted there was no pre-meditation or weapon used in the assault.

Judge McCaffrey said Bergin is a ‘young man who has been offered many advantages in life but you will never be able to achieve you full potential until you learn to control yourself and your temper.’

She said she had read character references which spoked highly of Bergin and accepted he had shown considerable remorse for his behaviour.

However, the judge said this was an ‘appalling assault on two youg men who had done nothing to provoke the violent behaviour.

She told Bergin: “Your conduct was nothing short of shameful.”

The judge suspended a 19 month sentence for two years.