Belfast Telegraph

Assault by duo ended their victim's hopes of career in the Army

By Ashleigh Simpson

Two young men who admitted assaulting another during a melee in a nightclub car park after an evening celebrating GSCE results have both been remanded in custody.

Johnathan Smyth (19) and his 20-year old co-accused Thomas Lowry admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm to their victim during the early hours of August 22, 2014.

Belfast Crown Court heard that due to the injuries he suffered in the attack, the injured man was not able to pursue his chosen career in the Army and can no longer play rugby.

The injured party was punched to the ground then subjected to a further assault during the disturbance outside the Co Antrim nightclub.

He suffered a fractured skull and an eye injury and has been left with "ongoing light sensitivity to his right eye".

Prosecuting barrister Gareth Purvis said the incident occurred at around 12.30am in the car park of the premises on the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey while young people were out celebrating getting their exam results.

Revealing a fight broke out between two groups of friends, Mr Purvis said a "considerable amount of drink" had been consumed.

Smyth, from Ballybarnes Road in Newtownards, admitted punching the other man once in the face, while Lowry, from Carnreagh Bend in Newtownabbey, admitted kicking him as he lay on the ground.

Defence barrister Paul Bacon, acting on behalf of Smyth, said his client accepted this was an "utterly disgraceful incident".

He said his client - a trainee motor mechanic - had not come to police attention since, and told the court: "He has expressed his deep regret and sorrow and apologises to this young man. He recognises his drunk, violent actions have had a devastating impact."

Sean Mullan, the barrister representing Lowry, also issued an apology on his client's behalf to the injured man, saying Lowry was both sorry for and ashamed of what he had done.

Branding what occurred as "a terrible incident", Mr Mullan described Lowry's behaviour as "completely out of character".

After listening to all the submissions, Judge Miller remanded both defendants to a Young Offenders Centre and said he will pass sentence on May 9.

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