Lisburn man jailed for kicking victim as he lay on ground

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A senior judge has jailed a Lisburn man for a year for “gratuitously” kicking his victim as he lay on a Belfast city centre street.

In court on Thursday, September 21, Ciaran Connolly (27), of Ambleside Court, was told by Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland he would spend a further 18 months on supervised licence following his release from prison.

Connolly had pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to a charge of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent during the drunken attack on Neil Sharkey in Bruce Street.

Co-accused Jason Strain (28), of Drumbeg Drive, Lisburn, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Sharkey occasioning him actual bodily harm during the attack in the early hours of January 15 this year.

Strain received a 15 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

The court heard that Mr Sharkey allegedly lunged at Jason Strain with a cider bottle and he put his hand up to defend himself, receiving a fracture to his finger.

It was claimed that Mr Sharkey then attacked Ciaran Connolly during the altercation which was witnessed by a number of passersby.

The judge heard that Mr Sharkey “was getting the upper hand of Connolly” when Strain intervened before Mr Sharkey fell to the ground and both defendants began kicking him to his body and head.

Prosecutor Mark Farrell said that Strain walked away from the attack but Connolly went back to his prostrate victim and kicked him again

The court was told the victim was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises but later discharged himself and refused to give a statement to police.

A defence barrister for Connolly said he had “shown remorse for his actions and victim awareness”. He added that he had been drinking all day and abusing prescription drugs.

Strain’s defence barrister Kelly Doherty said he had been attacked initially by Mr Sharkey and sustained a fracture to his finger and also a “significant bite mark to his chest” during the altercation.

Judge McFarland said although Strain was attacked first, the violence used by Connolly went “beyond self defence” and the repeated kicking of Mr Sharkey as he lay on the ground was “gratuitous”.