Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Sit exams then go to jail, judge tells student

A judge has allowed a student who admitted fracturing a man's jaw in three places with a single punch to sit his exams before he sends him to jail.

Stephen Denis Ryan (19) will start his nine-month sentence on May 2 – the day after he finishes his first year law exams at John Moores University in Liverpool.

A drunken Ryan was jailed after striking another man from behind in Limavady. His victim had punched him in the mouth first, knocking out two of Ryan's teeth.

In another twist, Londonderry Crown Court heard that the two men had later met up by chance while on holiday in Spain and agreed to let bygones be bygones.

A police officer told Judge Piers Grant the victim told him that he didn't want Ryan to go to jail.

But the judge told Ryan, from Creggan Road in the city: "Drunken violence of this sort in public places cannot be tolerated. It is highly dangerous and highly injurious conduct."

Ryan's barrister Joe Brolly told Judge Grant the family would ensure he turned up in court on May 2 to start his sentence.

"If he does not sit and complete his examinations, he will lose his first year at university," Mr Brolly told Judge Grant.

The assault had happened outside a nightclub in Limavady in the early hours of last April 29.

Judge Grant released Ryan on bail and warned that if he failed to turn up to start his sentence, he would face an additional one.

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