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A Lurgan man who punched son (14) and threatened to put him in hospital avoids jail

Craigavon Courthouse

A Lurgan man who punched his 14-year-old son and threatened to put him in hospital has been handed a combination order of 18 months probation and 80 hours of community service.

The 49-year-old, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court charged with common assault.

The court heard that on June 11, police were tasked to an address in Lurgan. Upon arrival, they spoke with a female, who made a written statement stating that her long term partner had entered the house and hit their 14-year-old son “about the head with a closed fist.”

The son also made a written statement that, following a dispute elsewhere, once he entered the living room of the property, his father punched him about the head a number of times. He further stated that his father “threatened to put him in hospital”.

The defendant left the property a short time later, after which the son then contacted police. The defendant was then arrested later that night on suspicion of assault. During interview, it was noted that he had some bruising to his hand, to which he “didn’t have an explanation as to how that could have occurred”. He also made no comment to questions, however, it is recorded that the son did not sustain any injuries.

Ruairi Gillen, defending, stated that the incident was “not pleasant”, but he added that his client had made a plea of guilty “at the very earliest opportunity.”

He noted that his client wanted to deal with the “issues which are underlying”, and explained that he has five children and “his relationship and his contact with his children have broken down since the offence.”

Furthermore, it was noted that the defendant has a number of issues with alcohol, which he has been “quite forthright” about.

Presiding over the hearing, Deputy District Judge Greg McCourt said that the incident amounted to “shameful behaviour.”

“It’s no surprise your son behaves in a way that you think was not acceptable. It’s no surprise because if you’ve been drinking every day, well then your son’s going to follow your behaviour and treat that as the norm.

“I think you need help to overcome your alcohol problem, and for that I’m going to make a combination order, which will be an order of probation and community service.”

The order of probation is to run for 18 months and the community service order totals 80 hours.

A condition was added to the probation order, requiring the defendant to attend any courses that probation deem necessary for him to deal with underlying issues such as alcohol.

“Don’t come back to this court again, you’ll get no sympathy whatsoever”, Judge McCourt added.

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