A 21-year-old footballer who inflicted grievous bodily harm in a drunken, unprovoked attack causing the injured party to miss a year of university, has been sentenced to four months imprisonment.
In the case heard at Fermanagh Magistrates Court the prosecutor explained that on April 17, 2014 at 2am the injured party was assaulted by the defendant Jonathan Hoy, of Crawfordshill, Springfield. In an unprovoked attack Hoy punched the injured party in the face three or four times at the Diamond, Enniskillen.
The victim attended South West Acute Hospital for medical treatment, but then had to be transferred to Altnagelvin Area Hospital for surgery on a fractured jaw. The injured party stayed overnight in hospital and in court it was noted how he was left in a considerable amount of pain.
Hoy was arrested and interviewed on April 19. He told police he had been drinking on the night in question and had no recollection of the events. On May 8 CCTV footage was shown to the defendant. When he viewed the footage Hoy made full admissions to the assault and stated it was ‘unacceptable’.
Defence solicitor Michelle McVeigh conceded it was not a pleasant set of facts before the court. The defence told the court she was under no instructions to condone the attack or offer justification, but noted a considerable amount of alcohol had been consumed, which was clearly an aggravating factor.
She expressed “unreserved remorse” on behalf of Hoy and said the incident had not only caused embarrassment to him, but also his family and employer, a local bar. She told the court that Hoy had no previous record and came from a supportive family. She highlighted Hoy’s keen interest in sport, mainly football and noted not only was he a player, but also a coach and mentor at a local club.
District judge Nigel Broderick took a dim view of the attack. “All too often courts in this jurisdiction the courts come across invariably young men in provincial towns fuelled by alcohol getting involved in unprovoked assaults.” He acknowledged the injuries sustained by the victim as considerable and stated they could have been more serious. “People have died in similar situations,” he remarked.
The judge noted that the injured party, a university student, had been affected by the attack both physically and emotionally and it had led him to take a year out of his academic career. The judge accepted Hoy was a man of otherwise good character with no previous record. The judge however decided to make an example of Hoy and chose to impose a custodial sentence.
“If these cases are going to be dealt with and to prevent other young men behaving in a similar fashion the court must take a robust approach to drunken, unprovoked assaults.” In addition to the custodial sentence, the judge imposed a compensation order of £1000. Hoy has appealed the charge and has been released on his own bail of £500.
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