A man who punched an off-duty policeman “three times in the head” has been ordered to complete 180 hours of community service.
Imposing the order on 32-year-old Barry McGuigan, from Cunningham Way in Antrim, Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter told the town’s magistrates’ court that despite the drunken nature of the incident, he had seen “glowing references” on the defendant.
A prosecuting lawyer had earlier told the court that McGuigan, who was so drunk he couldn’t remember the incident, was in Pizza Time on December 17 last year when he started being abusive and aggressive to the staff so another customer intervened to try to calm him down.
Instead McGuigan turned his anger on the man, punching him in the head three times, but as the court heard, his victim turned out to be an off-duty police officer.
Arrested and taken into custody, McGuigan tried to bite a uniformed officer on the hand and had to be restrained but during interviews, McGuigan claimed he “had no memory after 4pm”, having gone drinking after work.
He later pleaded guilty to assault and disorderly behaviour.
During a previous hearing, defence solicitor Andrew Kinney submitted that since the incident, McGuigan had written letters and cards of apology to the officers and staff at Pizza Time.
Mr Kinney added that despite his previous convictions for similar offences, McGuigan had been out of trouble for five years and stresseed that he was now “working and a devoted family man”.
He highlighted that McGuigan had been able to gather together the numerous, positive references along with a similarly positive probation report.