Father and son in ‘unprovoked attack’

A father and son allegedly jumped on a Czech national’s head in a “wanton, unprovoked attack” outside his Co Down home, the High Court heard

The man sustained a fractured cheekbone, along with puncture wounds to his chest and lung possibly inflicted by a glass object, prosecutors said.

But a judge was also told police don’t suspect any racial motive for targeting the man as he walked home from a night out in Downpatrick last month.

Details emerged as bail was refused to one of the two men accused of carrying out the assault.

Sean Fitzsimmons, 22, of Carraig View in the town, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and affray.

His 45-year-old father, Martin Lynch, who lives at the same address, faces similar allegations.

The victim, who speaks little English, was taken to hospital after being discovered with head injuries close to his home at Kennedy Square on November 12.

It was claimed that he struck to the back of the head, knocked to the ground and beaten repeatedly.

Prosecution counsel Philip Henry said the man tried to flee but was pulled back down.

“He did lose consciousness, and the next thing he remembers is waking up with a neighbour cradling him and shouting for help,” the barrister said.

Two witnesses who live in the area claimed Fitzsimmons and his father were involved, the court heard.

One of them also alleged they had been in his home that night, and that Lynch left with a pint glass.

Mr Henry continued: “The witness described the assault as including jumping on the injured party’s head, and kicking him whilst on the ground.”

Asked if there was any racial element to the alleged assault, the barrister replied: “This was a wanton, unprovoked attack, it doesn’t appear that the injured party’s nationality was a factor.”

Defence counsel Richard McConkey agreed that no element of hate crime was involved.

“It’s alleged that one of the attackers said to one of the eye witnesses ‘All I wanted was a cigarette’,” he told the court.

“This had noting to do with race or ethnicity at all.”

With Lynch previously refused bail, Mr McConkey contended that Fitzsimmons could be released to care for his mother.

But denying his application, Sir Anthony Hart cited the risk of re-offending.