Belfast Telegraph

Man glassed ex-footballer after learning he was having affair with wife, court told

By George Jackson

A father-of-three glassed a former League of Ireland and Irish League footballer on the side of the head when he discovered that his victim was having an affair with his wife, a court heard.

Martin Cheung (39) from Ardban in Muff, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Barry Molloy in Granny Annie’s Bar in Waterloo Street in Londonderry at midnight on May 27 of last year.

A second charge of unlawful wounding with intent was left on the books, not to be proceeded with without leave of the court.

A barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey at yesterday’s sentencing hearing that Mr Molloy had told him during consultations that he did not believe Cheung meant to injure him to the extent which he had, nor did he want Cheung to be sent to jail.

Mr Molloy, who, the court was told, was still in a relationship with Cheung’s estranged wife, sustained a laceration to his left ear and to the left side of his forehead and had to have eight stitches inserted in his wounds.

Glass fragments were removed from both lacerations by medical staff who treated Mr Molloy in Altnagelvin Hospital’s accident and emergency ward.

The prosecutor said the incident, which was captured on CCTV, happened in a split second when Cheung, who had earlier consumed five cans of beer and five pints of beer, lunged at Mr Molloy who was with a friend in the upstairs lounge of the bar.

He said Cheung was so drunk at the time that he did not realise he was holding a glass when he struck Mr Molloy.

The barrister said the generous attitude of Mr Molloy towards Cheung had some relevance in terms of sentencing and he said the assault fell into the lesser harm and lower culpability category.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said that Cheung, who has no previous criminal convictions, wanted to apologise to Mr Molloy and to express his regret and remorse for inflicting the injuries on his victim.

He said Cheung also wished to acknowledge Mr Molloy’s extremely generous and fair-minded views of the incident.

“There is no excuse for behaviour like this. There can be no excuse for behaviour like this but I hope the court will bear in mind the background in understanding why someone like the defendant, who has no criminal record, would now find himself in court at all,” Mr Devlin said.

The defence barrister said there has been no subsequent animosity since the assault, which had been preceded by back-and-forth social media exchanges.

Mr Devlin said since the incident Cheung, who looks after his daughters three or four days each week, had gone through the most stressful period of his life.

“From the moment he struck the blow he realised he made a very grave error of judgement”, he said.

Judge McCaffrey said she wanted to read the various character references submitted on behalf of Cheung before she sentenced him.

Cheung was released on continuing bail and will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Belfast Telegraph

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