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Personal fitness trainer handed suspended sentence after single punch knocked out three teeth from victim's mouth

By George Jackson

A personal fitness trainer who with a single punch knocked out three teeth from his victim's mouth, was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and fined £350 at the Magistrate's Court in Derry on Friday.

Benjamin Gerard O'Connor, 24, from Knockwellan Park in the Waterside area of the city punched his victim in the mouth outside a fast food takeaway in Strand Road in the early hours of last June 13.

The victim, a student at Edinburgh University, was in court with his father but they left the courtroom as CCTV footage of the single punch attack was played to Deputy District Judge Noel Dunlop.

The footage showed the defendant and his victim being involved in an earlier pushing and shoving incident prior to the punch being thrown.

The force of the blow knocked out the victim's two front teeth and he later lost a third tooth.

In his Victim Impact Statement the student said his dentist cried when she saw the extent of the injuries caused by the punch.

When arrested immediately after the incident O'Connor admitted punching his victim on the mouth and described the blow as "a lucky shot".

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said O'Connor, who had a previously clear record, was remorseful for his actions and apologised to his victim.

The Deputy District Judge said while there was no justification for O'Connor's actions, in passing sentence he took into consideration the CCTV footage from the scene before O'Connor punched his victim.

Mr. Dunlop said based on the CCTV footage he would not be making a compensation order in the case.

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