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Fate of Armagh man accused of reprisal attack delayed after victim asks to lodge impact statement

Sentencing of an Armagh man who repeatedly slashed the face of an alleged rapist has been put back once more after the alleged victim advised the courts that he wished to lodge a victim impact statement.

The request took “everybody somewhat by surprise” given the complainant’s reluctance to engage in proceedings, even refusing to attend the trial at the time.

However, the sentencing of 20-year-old Oisin Smith, from Legar Hill Park in Armagh will take place on what will be his 21st birthday, next month.

He was due to go on trial at Newry Crown Court earlier this year accused of possessing a Stanley knife and common assault on December 31, 2022, but a prosecution lawyer previously applied for those counts to be left on the books.

Smith had already admitted the more serious charge of wounding with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

The facts of the case have not yet been fully opened but previous hearings have been told how Smith repeatedly slashed the face of the alleged victim in what has been described as a “reprisal attack,” which took place in Armagh city centre on New Year’s Eve in 2022.

A defence lawyer said: “Unfortunately, Your Honour, late in the day, the victim wants to make a victim impact statement and that will have to be done through the victim service, which Mrs O’Kane [prosecution] indicates that’s going to take three weeks.”

He added: “Can I just indicate that the defendant has some mental health issues and was prepared, until Wednesday of this week, for sentence and this has had a significant impact on him?

“They have asked – through his mother – a request that we get it on as quickly as possible.”

His Honour Judge Ramsey suggested a four-week adjournment, but Mrs O’Kane said three weeks would suffice.

“The difficulty with this,” she said, “is that this is a victim who’s had very serious injuries; it’s a Section 18 wounding, but he’s also someone who did not cooperate with the police and failed to attend for trial etc, which was why the idea that he wants to make a victim impact statement took everybody somewhat by surprise.

“Then he doesn’t cooperate with the police either. So we have to use victim support to facilitate the taking of the statements, hence the information coming late in the day that he wants the statement to go in front of the court.”

Judge Ramsey adjourned the case for sentencing until May 10.

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