ONE of two men involved in a fight on Johnston Bridge last year has been giving a prison sentence for kicking another man in the head.
Michael Leonard (27) of Main Street, Irvinestown was pleaded guilty to assault on police, two counts of common assault, and breach of bail at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday. His co-accused, Brendan McLaughlin (26) of Feddan’s Road, Garvary also appeared in court, where he pleaded guilty to assault on police, attempted criminal damage and breach of bail.
The court was told the charges arose out of an incident on Friday, September 18, when police received a report of men fighting on Johnston Bridge in Enniskillen, with one man holding a bottle.
The court was told that when the officers arrived at the bridge, there was no fighting taking place but Leonard then began fighting with the injured party, Conor Logan, and observed him kicking him in the head.
Leonard ran off in the direction of the town centre, and was found emerging from a bush near the Buttermarket. The officer who had pursued him believed Leonard was holding a bottle, and drew his firearm, pointing it at the defendant. Leonard had to be restrained, after which the officer discovered it was a mobile phone he was holding. Leonard later told police it had been Mr Logan who had the bottle, which he threw over the bridge.
Meanwhile, officers who had remained at Johnston Bridge observed McLaughlin and Mr Logan, who were drunk, shouting at each other. McLaughlin approached Mr Logan and punched him in the face in front of the officers.
No one present on the bridge, including the injured party Mr Logan, was willing to make a statement to police.
McLaughlin, who later had no recollection of the incident, was arrested and brought to Enniskillen Police Station, where spat at the police and had to be restrained.
Defence barrister Mr Blackburn, for McLaughlin, said while his client had been very drunk, and had not been involved in the early stages of what he said had been an ongoing incident. He added McLaughlin’s early guilty plea showed he was facing up to the incident, and that Mr Logan’s failure to make a complaint was “interesting in itself.”
Asking for a suspended sentence to be “left hanging over his head”, Mr Blackburn said McLaughlin was deeply remorseful at what had happened.
Defence barrister Stephen Mooney, for Leonard, said his client was currently in custody, after being handed a prison sentence in May and having a suspended sentence activated. Mr Mooney said Leonard acknowledged McLaughlin had played a lesser role in the incident and was “willing to take his oil.”
Judge Broderick said while he was satisfied with Mr Blackburn’s submissions that McLaughlin was not involved from the beginning, but added he had a very poor record. He sentenced McLaughlin to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
Judge Broderick said Leonard was in “a different situation”, had been “involved at the higher end” of the incident, and had a lengthy record. Stating kicking someone in the head was a very serious offence and “unacceptable”, he sentenced him to two months in prison, consecutive to his current sentence, meaning he is now effectively serving a 12 month sentence.
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Posted: 6:00 pm June 19, 2016