Mum ‘saw assault on son by cousin in fast-food outlet’



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A woman saw her son being attacked and knocked unconscious by his own cousin, the High Court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors said she witnessed Niall Maguire launch an unprovoked assault at a Chinese takeaway in Ballynahinch, Co Down.

The victim was taken by ambulance to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital amid initial fears his eye socket and cheekbone had been fractured.

Maguire, of Windmill Avenue in the town, denies charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent over the incident on May 11.

During a failed application for bail it was claimed that he carried out the attack after emerging from a nearby bar.

According to his cousin’s account Maguire pushed him as he stood in the takeaway queue, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.

He remembers little else until he woke up, the court heard.

But it was alleged that his mother saw the attack as she waited in a car to collect him.

She claimed the accused ran at her son to kick him about the head before she intervened.

Medical examinations confirmed the victim’s injuries were less severe than first feared, involving cuts and bruising.

According to the prosecution Maguire later told police: “Sure it’s my cousin. My granny will knock him out in the morning.”

He also allegedly stated: “My hands are sore from hitting people.”

Opposing bail, Crown lawyer Conor Maguire claimed CCTV footage of the incident backed the mother’s version of events.

“This was a wholly unprovoked and vicious attack on the applicant’s cousin,” he said.

“Police believe he is dangerous ... and will be likely to reoffend.”

Alan Blackburn, defending, stressed that his client denied any involvement.

He added that Maguire suffered serious head injuries himself in a separate “savage” attack earlier this year for which another man faces an attempted murder charge.

But refusing bail, Mr Justice Treacy said: “There’s clearly a strong prima facie case that he was involved in an unprovoked assault on a member of his own family.”