A 58-year-old Lisnaskea man who assaulted a 14-year-old boy ‘lost his cool’ after being subjected to anti-social behaviour from a group of young people in the area.
In the case heard at Enniskillen Magistrates Court the prosecutor explained that on October 21, 2013 at 9.05am the defendant, Frank McGovern, of Trasna Way approached the injured party, a 14-year-old school boy, in the Water Street area of Lisnaskea. He had been in the company of two other schoolboys at the time. McGovern then grabbed the injured party on the left arm and struck him with a slap from his left hand. The injured party was left with blood in his mouth from the attack and suffered bruising to his left arm and a small laceration in the mouth.
Police later arrested McGovern at his home address. During interview the defendant admitted confronting the injured party and slapping him, but denied grabbing him on the left arm, stating rather he grabbed him by the jacket.
Tommy Owens, defending, told the court that McGovern had been the subject of a lot of anti-social behaviour by a group of young people in the Trasna Way area. He explained that the young people would throw eggs and stones at McGovern’s house, in one instance breaking a window and would knock his door when in bed.
Mr Owens further explained how the young people would call McGovern names like ‘fat b******’ and stated that his client had been ‘harassed’ and ‘tortured’. In relation to the attack the defence said that McGovern had spotted one of the group of about ‘eight or nine’ who had been harassing him and made the decision to confront him.
In response to another ‘fat b******’ comment Mr Owens told the court McGovern ‘lost his cool’ and hit him a slap. In mitigation he stated this was one slap only and that his client deeply regretted the incident. He also asked for credit for the plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity and highlighted the pre sentence report which stated McGovern was unlikely to re-offend.
District judge Nigel Broderick told McGovern: “Whatever your concerns about being subjected to anti-social behaviour it is not acceptable to take the law into your own hands.” He called the defendant’s actions ‘unacceptable’ and stated that the courts would not tolerate this type of behaviour.
“In my view the custody threshold has clearly been crossed,” he told McGovern, but did give him some credit for his guilty plea. In sentencing McGovern to four months imprisonment the judge took into account the defendant’s relevant record. McGovern has decided to appeal the sentence and was released on his own bail of £500.