Belfast Telegraph

Dungiven man 'stupefied with drink and drugs' had no memory of glassing man outside pub, court told

Sean Joseph McCloskey appeared at Antrim Crown Court
Sean Joseph McCloskey appeared at Antrim Crown Court

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 41-year old who was "so stupefied with a cocktail of drink and prescription drugs" that he has no memory of glassing another man was handed a suspended sentence.

Sean Joseph McCloskey smashed a glass he was holding against the side of a van, then struck another man in the face with it during an early morning altercation on Dungiven's Main Street.

McCloskey - who suffers from mental health issues - was handed a 12-month prison sentence, which was suspended for three years, after he admitted wounding the other man in November 2016.

The injured man sustained a 2.5cm laceration to his cheek which was treated at Altnagelvin Hospital with stitches.

Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard the incident occurred following a "prank" when the injured party pretended he was going to urine in McCloskey's direction.

Branding the incident as "an isolated attack consisting of a single strike", Judge Brian Sherrard said he accepted there was a lack of pre-meditation. The Judge also accepted that due to McCloskey's mental state - coupled with him mixing five prescribed drugs with alcohol - there was an "inability" on his part to understand what was happening.

From Ard Na Smoll in Dungiven, McCloskey was warned to stay out of trouble for the next three years, or risk being sent to prison.

Prior to passing sentence, Judge Sherrard was told that the incident occurred outside a bar at around 1am on Saturday November 12, 2016.

Crown prosecutor Suzanne Gallagher said the injured party had been socialising with two friends in a pub, and was standing chatting outside in the street, when one of the party shouted over to McCloskey, who was also on Main Street.

As the men stood in the street, the injured party started to urinate and "pretended" to urinate in McCloskey's direction "in a joking manner."

Telling the court the injured party believed McCloskey "would have appreciated it was in a joking manner", Ms Gallagher said "the next thing he knew, a male struck him with his right hand to the side of his face, with glass smashing around him as he was struck."

The injured man was taken to the A&E department at Altnagelvin, where his injury was cleaned and he was treated, then discharged with anti-biotics.

Ms Gallagher said the two friends who were with the injured party and who witnessed the incident both recalled seeing McCloskey smash a glass he was holding against the side of a van, and in a continual movement strike their friend in the face with it.

The barrister also told the court the injured man has been left with a facial scar, which had affected his confidence.

Regarding McCloskey, Ms Gallagher noted the amount of prescription drugs he took, and said: "He should have been aware that to mix these with high levels of alcohol would have a very significant impact ... as it did in this instance."

Defence barrister Paul Kearney said that despite having no recollection of the incident, his client displayed remorse from the outset, and continues to do so.

Revealing McCloskey was "so stupefied with a cocktail of drink and prescription drugs" that he has no memory of what happened, Mr Kearney said the incident has left him feeling remorseful, shameful and embarrassed about the injury he inflicted.

The barrister also spoke of a "disturbing occurrence" in McCloskey's childhood which he said contributed to his client's poor mental health, social isolation and alcohol abuse.

Noting a lack of violence on McCloskey's limited criminal record, and branding the incident as a "very serious attack" Judge Sherrard said: "It's clear everyone concerned in this matter had drink taken."

After handing McCloskey a suspended sentence, he was told by Judge Sherrard: "It is essential that you keep yourself out of trouble. This is not an opportunity you will be given again."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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