| 5.2°C Belfast

Footballer faces 'inevitable' consequences after kicking player in head


Pleaded guilty: Niall Lavery

Pleaded guilty: Niall Lavery

Pleaded guilty: Niall Lavery

A Co Armagh footballer who kicked an opponent in the head during a match before then assaulting the referee was yesterday warned of the "inevitable" consequences.

With a jury sworn in at Craigavon Crown Court, 32-year-old Niall James Lavery was about to go on trial when defence counsel Barry McKenna asked for two of the three charges to be put to him again.

Lavery, from Bowens Mews in Lurgan, changed his plea and confessed to unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to Gary Hill on March 25 last year with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, and the assault of Joshua Porter.

Prosecuting counsel Ian Tannahill told the court the first charge was on the basis of a deliberate kick to the head during the course of a football match, describing the force of it as akin to "taking a penalty kick".

He revealed that the third charge of common assault was committed against the referee.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC said that given the guilty pleas, "clearly a pre-sentence report would be required".

However, he warned the defendant that he should understand the "inevitability of what will happen in due course".

Releasing Lavery on continuing bail, he told him to return to court for sentencing on January 24 next year.

Belfast Telegraph