A teenager jailed for his part in a sectarian attack which left a father-of-one in a coma wants his sentence reduced to avoid being sent to an adult prison, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Darryl Proctor was handed a 12- year jail term with another year on probation after admitting inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Paul McCauley in July 2006.
The 18-year-old from the Fountain estate in Londonderry is currently detained at Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre, but under the terms of his present punishment would be transferred to an adult institution when he turns 22.
Mr McCauley (33) suffered multiple head injuries, including a brain haemorrhage and fractured skull, and has been in a vegetative state since he was beaten. Doctors say his condition is unlikely to improve.
In February sentencing judge Mr Justice Hart spoke of the “catastrophic consequences” of the unprovoked attack on Mr McCauley and his family.
Proctor, who was 15 at the time, is the only person convicted in connection with the assault.
He was among a gang of up to six people who targeted Mr McCauley and two of his friends.
In court yesterday Proctor’s legal team called for custodial element of his sentence to be reduced in favour of an increase in probation.
Urging the court to consider her client’s “tender age”, guilty plea and that he was part of “joint enterprise” defence barrister Eilish McDermott QC said the “rehabilitative element” of the sentence should be greater to “avoid the necessity of being transferred to an adult prison”.
“While he is in a young offenders centre he might get some guidance. That will cease when he goes to an adult prison.”
Prosecution barrister Gary McCrudden told the court: “Proctor was playing his part in what had been a premeditated, brutal, sectarian attack.”
Judgment has been reserved.