'Stupified' attacker who glassed man in face avoids jail
A 41-year-old who was "so stupified with a cocktail of drink and prescription drugs" that he has no memory of attacking another man with a glass was handed a suspended sentence when he appeared in court yesterday.
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 cut 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 urinate 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.
McCloskey, from Ard Na Smoll in Dungiven, was warned to stay out of trouble for the next three years or risk being sent to prison.
Judge Sherrard was told that the incident happened outside a bar at around 1am on Saturday, November 12, 2016.
Crown prosecutor Suzanne Gallagher 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 continued to do so.
Revealing that McCloskey was "so stupified with a cocktail of drink and prescription drugs" that he has no memory of what happened, Mr Kearney said that the incident had left McCloskey feeling ashamed and embarrassed.
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.
After handing McCloskey a suspended sentence, Judge Sherrard told him: "It is essential that you keep yourself out of trouble.
"This is not an opportunity you will be given again."