Belfast Telegraph

Man punched in the head suffered series of injuries, assault court told

By George Jackson

A man who was punched once in the head in a bar sustained fractures to his skull, eye socket and cheekbone, as well as suspected fractures to several neck bones, a court has heard.

Rory Forrester also underwent emergency surgery for bleeding of the brain after the incident on Sunday in Duke's Bar in Duke Street, a PSNI officer told Londonderry Magistrates Court.

Mr Forrester was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital, but later transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he had surgery.

He has since been taken off a ventilator but remains in the hospital's intensive care unit, the detective constable also told the court.

The police witness was opposing bail being granted to Barry Gordon Whittle from Clareen Drive in the Strathfoyle area of the city. Whittle, who has 67 previous convictions – four of them for serious assaults – had been drinking with the injured party, who started kicking over bar stools, the court heard.

One witness told the police that he heard the defendant saying "I will sort this out" before the defendant punched the victim once, knocking the man unconscious.

The defendant then left the bar but was arrested several hours later in Primrose Street.

Police said the incident had been recorded on the bar's CCTV.

Applying for bail a defence solicitor said his client believed he was acting in self-defence when he punched the victim.

He said the defendant sustained a serious brain injury several years ago and he wanted to avoid being hit by the injured party.

He said Whittle was also the victim of several serious so-called punishment beatings in the past and that the defendant's mother had recently been diagnosed as being terminally ill and had only three to four months to live.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said the defendant had "decided to hit first and ask questions later".

"I consider this man to be a serious risk to other members of the public. He has a very violent record," he added.

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear in court again on September 11 for a video-link hearing.

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