Belfast Telegraph

Man who assaulted his father's killer given community service

A man convicted of assaulting the person responsible for the manslaughter of his father has been given community service
A man convicted of assaulting the person responsible for the manslaughter of his father has been given community service
Murdered: Christopher McGaughey

By Eamonn MacDermott

A man convicted of assaulting the person responsible for the manslaughter of his father has been given community service.

James McGaughey was sentenced at Londonderry Magistrates Court yesterday where a judge said, that in the circumstances, he was not ordering any compensation to be paid.

McGaughey (24), of Celandine Court in Londonderry, had denied assault occasioning actual bodily harm on James Healy on May 7 last year.

He also denied harassment of Healy between January 1 and January 31 last year.

At the earlier hearing at Derry Magistrates Court, Healy, the injured party, gave evidence that last January he had been crossing the Peace Bridge when he encountered McGaughey.

He said McGaughey started shouting things like "you murdering b******" and "I'll get you".

He told the court that McGaughey then followed him up to his flat and said he felt "anxious" after the incident.

The court was also told that the pair had met later outside a shopping centre and the defendant told him he was lucky he had his child with him or he would have killed him.

In relation to the incident last May, the witness said he had been walking across the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge when he encountered McGaughey and another man.

He said the defendant said to him "no knives today big man" before punching him and breaking his nose.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Alan Stewart, Healy agreed he had been convicted of the manslaughter of McGaughey's father on October 30, 2011.

He also agreed the killing involved a knife and that he had been released from prison in October 2017.

The barrister put it to him that when he saw McGaughey, he had said to him "would you like me to murder you like I murdered your father?". This was denied.

McGaughey had told the court that Healy had used "two knives" to kill his father and said the first time he had seen Healy since his release was in May.

He said when they met on the Craigavon Bridge Healy had made the remarks about his father and then reached to his pocket.

McGaughey said he thought Healy was reaching for a weapon so he punched him.

Under cross-examination by a prosecution solicitor, McGaughey denied having met Healy before the incident in May.

District Judge Barney McElholm said the case came down to a credibility issue and he believed the injured party.

He said he did take issue with McGaughey's anger towards the witness.

But he added people could not simply "lash out as that road leads to anarchy".

At yesterday's hearing Mr Stewart said that his client was basically a carer for his mother. He said he had sought counselling on a voluntary basis.

Imposing a sentence of 160 hours community service, Judge McElholm said he was not ordering any compensation to be paid and Healy could pursue that himself if he chose to do so.

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