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Early guilty plea saves Newtownabbey man Ian Cochrane from jail over assault

By Alan Erwin

Published 16/08/2016

Cochrane was handed a suspended sentence.
Cochrane was handed a suspended sentence.

A man who tried to kick a stranger who had been knocked to the ground during fighting in a Belfast nightlife district has avoided being sent to jail.

Ian Cochrane was told his five-month prison term was only being suspended because of his early guilty plea.

The 30-year-old, of Tulleevin Drive in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, admitted charges of common assault and disorderly behaviour.

He was arrested amid clashes in the Bradbury Place area on June 12 this year.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard CCTV operators saw one man punch another man and then attempt to kick him while he was on the ground.

Cochrane later accepted it was him shown on the footage.

"He stated that he couldn't remember why he and the other male had been fighting," a prosecution lawyer said.

"He did not know the other male."

The attempt to kick the other man on the ground did not connect, she confirmed.

Defence counsel insisted Cochrane has displayed remorse - for the victim and to members of the public who witnessed the incident.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall responded that the offences "pass the custody threshold".

But suspending the five-month sentence for two years, she said: "It's only because he put his plea in at the outset."

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