Man’s self-defence turned into knife attack


A father of five who disarmed a man who tried to stab him but who then went “above and beyond” self-defence by lashing out with the knife, has been handed a suspended sentence.

John Morley was part of a group of people who travelled from Dublin to attend a children’s charity football match over the weekend of March 28 and 29 last year.

The 30-year-old was staying in the Chimney Corner Hotel in Newtownabbey, and just after 2am on March 29, another member of the group became aggressive towards him.

Crown prosecutor Robin Steer said that when the other man attacked Morley and produced a lock-knife, Morley was able to disarm him – but Morley then “struck out” a number of times and injured the other man.

Mr Steer told Judge Sandra Crawford that when the wounded man was taken to hospital, it was recorded in the A&E department that “alcohol and cocaine were on board”.

The injured man was treated for three wounds – one to his chest and two on his legs – none of which were deemed as serious. He didn’t co-operate with police, and refused to co-operate with the subsequent investigation.

Mr Steer said that while Morley didn’t start the incident, he did initially act in self-defence but then “went beyond that”. He also said that during the early morning incident “both parties were intoxicated”.

Belfast Crown Court heard Morley admitted three charges arising from the stabbing – namely wounding the other man, possessing a knife with intent to commit an offence and possessing cannabis.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey branded the case as “peculiar”, and said his client was “put in fear” after the other man came at him with a knife.

Judge Sandra Crawford told Morley she accepted his criminal behaviour was borne out of “fearfulness” for his own safety, and was not premeditated, but “clearly went well beyond self-defence”.

Saying she was taking into account the injured man’s refusal to co-operate following the incident, Judge Crawford handed Morley a 12-month sentence, which she suspended for two years.