Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Man jailed following gang assault on stranger

A man has been jailed for his part in a gang attack outside the Odyssey Arena.

Anthony Benson was given a seven-month sentence for assaulting a stranger at the complex last November.

The 24-year-old and two friends jumped from a car and beat their victim.

Benson, of Ross Mill Avenue in Belfast, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm during an appearance at Belfast Magistrates Court.

Defence lawyer John Finucane said his client had been drinking heavily with two friends when one of them received a text message from a girl at the Odyssey. The solicitor said she claimed the victim was “badgering or harassing her”.

Mr Finucane said: “He wasn't the first person to throw a punch on the prosecution papers. He is very remorseful and has asked me to apologise to the injured party.”

Passing sentence, District Judge Fiona Bagnall acknowledged Benson's early guilty plea.

But imposing the jail term, she said: “The circumstances of the attack are very concerning and are aggravating factors in my opinion.”

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