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Thug Barry McGuigan who attacked policeman avoids jail

By Paul Higgins

A man who shares the same name as a former world champion boxer punched an off-duty policeman three times in the head, a court heard yesterday.

Barry McGuigan (32), from Cunningham Way in Antrim, was so drunk at the time he could not remember the incident, a prosecuting lawyer told the town's Magistrates' Court.

She described how McGuigan was in Pizza Time in the town on December 17 last year when he started being abusive and aggressive to staff, which led to another customer intervening to calm him down.

Instead, McGuigan turned his anger on the man, punching him in the head three times.

But as the court heard, his victim turned out to be an off-duty police officer.

Arrested and taken into custody, McGuigan tried to bite a uniformed officer on the hand and had to be restrained.

During police interviews, however, McGuigan claimed he "had no memory after 4pm", having gone drinking after work that day. He later pleaded guilty to assault and disorderly behaviour.

Defence solicitor Andrew Kinney submitted that since the incident, McGuigan had written letters and cards of apology to the officers and staff at Pizza Time, adding that despite his previous convictions for similar offences, he had been out of trouble for five years and was now "working and a devoted family man".

Adjourning passing sentence, Judge King said while "this isn't a happy set of facts that well and truly" crosses the threshold for jail, given the letters of apology and numerous references he had read, he wanted to impose community service "as a direct alternative to prison".

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