Six months for assault which resulted in fractured jaw

Justice system
Justice system

A six month prison term has been imposed on a Ballymena man for breaking the jaw of a rival amateur footballer when they met on a Ballymena street on Halloween night two years ago.

Paddy Hudson (30), of Bamber Park, Ballymena, was convicted in March of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Darren Campbell.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday, where Hudson was in the dock for sentencing, defence barrister Francis Rafferty said the defendant maintained he was innocent.

The recent court contest heard Mr Campbell had to go on a “liquid diet” for six weeks after his jaw fracture.

At Thursday’s court, a prosecutor said the injured party alleged he was punched by the defendant who was found guilty of the charge.

Mr Rafferty told Thursday’s court although it was grievous bodily harm it was a “relatively minor fracture” caused by a “relatively small amount of force”.

He said Hudson’s wife is expecting a child. Based on the defendant’s attitude to the charge, he said his client, who had a previously clear record, was assessed in a pre-sentence report as being at a low to medium risk of re-offending.

Mr Rafferty said “exemplary references” were provided to the court for his client.

District Judge Peter King said he took into account the previously clear record and the references and said if there had been a record he would have considered jailing the defendant for nine months but instead sent him to prison for six months.

Hudson was freed on his own bail of £250 pending an appeal.

In the same courtroom in March, the defendant was convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Campbell during an incident in the William Street area of Ballymena on Halloween night in 2015.

During the court contest, both men said they knew each other through football and gave conflicting accounts, claiming each had been the aggressor in the case.

Judge King said last month it was an unusual case and he had a “very clear version of events” from Mr Campbell.

He said the incident was “quite frankly handbags at dawn” and had the serious injury not emerged he was sure the case would not have gone any further.

However he said he was “just about satisfied” Hudson had caused the injury, whether he had intended to do so or not.

During the contest, Mr Campbell said he heard somebody shout his name and when he turned round Hudson hit him on the face.

Mr Campbell said he knew Hudson though football and asked why he did it and claimed the defendant replied: “You know what it’s for”.

Mr Campbell said he was “not the aggressor”and said his jaw had been fractured requiring a “six week liquid diet”.

Hudson had alleged Mr Campbell was to blame by grabbing him by the throat.

He said he then “wrestled” him to try and get him off and added: “I definitely did not, 100 per cent, punch him”.

Hudson said he did not know how the injury had been sustained.