Belfast Telegraph

Man who joined others in kicking friend as he lay on ground in Belfast claims it was 'horseplay that went too far', court hears

A man who joined others in kicking a friend as he lay on the ground in the centre of Belfast claims it was "horseplay that went too far", a court heard on Tuesday.

Peter Cowan, 29, took part in the attack weeks before a separate drunken incident involving threats to toss a police officer's bicycle into the River Lagan, prosecutors said.

Deferring his sentence until next year, a judge warned that she is considering sending him to jail.

Cowan, of Blythe Street in Belfast, appeared before the city's Magistrates Court to be dealt with for offences of common assault and disorderly behaviour.

He was caught on CCTV forming part of the group attack at Fountain Lane on May 2 this year.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said the victim was pulled to the ground and kicked by three men.

Cowan was arrested shortly after leaving the scene.

The following month he was detained again after police on cycle patrol were alerted to two drunk men hassling members of the public on the tow path at Donegall Quay.

According to Ms Pinkerton Cowan called one of the officer's "a p****" and threatened to throw his bike in the river.

He then made his way out onto a jetty before finally being arrested.

Defence counsel Luke Curran argued that the assault was not as ferocious as portrayed.

The barrister told the court the incident involved friends, adding: "He (Cowan) would say it was horseplay that went too far."

But District Judge Fiona Bagnall insisted kicking someone on the ground could merit imprisonment.

She decided against passing sentence at this stage, however, because Cowan is still completing a previously imposed probation order.

"I'm inclined to defer, because it's immediate custody I'm looking at, to see whether or not the work with probation can make a difference," Mrs Bagnall explained.

Putting the case back to March 2018, she warned: "You must not darken the door of the court again in that period, otherwise you're in custody."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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