A law student who bit off part of another man's ear in a drunken fight has walked free from court with a suspended jail term.
Suspending the one-year term for two years at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, His Honour Judge Kinney said that he was only doing so because of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the case and the psychological make-up of Christopher Lavery following a near-fatal road traffic accident.
Earlier he heard that Lavery, who turned 24 yesterday, became involved in a street fight with Michael Muldoon in the early hours of September 16, 2011.
Prosecuting lawyer Tessa Kitson said that all the parties involved had been drinking that evening and in a somewhat confused picture, Lavery and Mr Muldoon were struggling on the ground when his earlobe was bitten off.
When arrested, Lavery, from the Ardress West Road in Loughgall, admitted being involved in a fight but claimed he was acting in self defence as he was being kicked on the head while on the ground.
However, he later pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm. Defence QC Mark Mulholland said the incident had been “out of character” for Lavery but he had acted spontaneously in fear and had no idea what or who he was biting.
He revealed that around two years before the incident, Lavery, who had been studying law but has since taken a break from his studies, was in a near-fatal car crash in which he sustained a broken arm and leg.
He was in a medically-induced coma for a time and he still suffered psychological effects from the collision.