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Man used over-the-top force on teenager, court told

A man who claimed he was acting in self-defence when he became embroiled in a fight with a 15-year-old "used violence that was unnecessary, unreasonable and over-the-top", a jury has been told.

Kevin McHugh (44), from Victoria Gardens in the north of the city, is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent on May 19, 2012.

He denies the charge, saying he was protecting both himself and his son after the youth came at him with a bottle.

As the Crown case was opened, the jury was shown CCTV footage of the incident, which shows McHugh punching the teenager several times and kicking him as he lay on the ground.

The teenager was subsequently treated in hospital for bleeding on his brain, which resulted in mobility issues to the left-hand side of his body.

Prosecuting barrister Rosemary Walsh told the court that at around 7pm on the evening in question McHugh had been walking along the Antrim Road with his son when "an exchange of some sort" took place between him and one of two teenagers who had just crossed from the other side of the road.

A grapple then took place between McHugh and the 15-year old, during which punches were thrown.

Two eye-witnesses both said that at this stage they saw the older man punching the teenager.

The two teenagers then fled while McHugh went to an off-licence, where he purchased wine.

A member of staff noted that when McHugh was in the premises, his face was "bright red with anger".

Ms Walsh said the youth was seen to pick up an empty bottle from a nearby alleyway and was overheard saying: "I am going to kill him."

As he was walking from the alleyway back onto the Antrim Road, the youth's path once again crossed McHugh's, and within seconds a second altercation occurred, during which the teen was punched several times and kicked to the head while on the ground.

Ms Walsh told the jury a passing motorist said he saw a young man on the ground being kicked by an older man and that the older man appeared "to be taking time to reposition himself" between kicks.

A doorman intervened, and as the teenager lay injured on the ground, McHugh and his son left the scene.

When police arrived they saw the youth slumped on the ground and bleeding from a head wound.

He was rushed to hospital where he was treated for a bleed to the brain.

McHugh was arrested four days after the incident, and during police interview he made the case that he was acting in self-defence.

Telling the jury McHugh's actions went above and beyond self-defence, Ms Walsh said it was the Crown's case that the amount of force and violence used proved McHugh was guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

At hearing.

Belfast Telegraph