Belfast Telegraph

Man charged with 'one punch' manslaughter of Darren O'Neill on Co Down beach appears in court

Darren O’Neill died in hospital after allegedly being punched on a Co Down beach.
Darren O’Neill died in hospital after allegedly being punched on a Co Down beach.

By Paul Higgins

A man has been charged with the manslaughter of a man he allegedly punched at a Co. Down beach.

A month ago Joseph Dorian (22) was freed on police bail accused of causing grievous bodily harm to Darren O’Neill on 27 June but he sadly passed away a few days after the alleged assault.

On Thursday, at Downpatrick Magistrates Court, that offence was replaced by manslaughter.

Standing in the dock with friends and relatives of Mr O’Neill looking on from the packed public gallery, many of them wearing white t-shirts saying “The One That Got Away RIP Darren O’Neill,” Dorian, from Lakeview in Crumlin, confirmed his personal details and that he understood the single charge against him.

While none of the facts surrounding Mr O’Neill’s death were heard in open court, a police officer gave evidence that he believed he could connect Dorian to the offence.

It was reported at the time how Mr O’Neill had gone with friends to Tyrella Beach that hot summers day when he was assaulted in what was described as a “one punch attack.”

Rushed to hospital with a serious head injury, the popular Belfast man tragically died two days after the incident.

District Judge Amanda Brady freed Dorian on his own bail of £500 but also imposed numerous bail conditions including a curfew and a ban on alcohol and illicit drugs.

Dorian was also ordered to be electronically tagged, must report to police three times a week and was barred from contacting any prosecution witnesses.

Dorian will next appear in court on September 5.

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