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Man assaults father and brother on Christmas Day after jokes were ‘close to the bone’

Craigavon Court

A Craigavon man who assaulted his father and brother on Christmas day after jokes which were “close to the bone” has been sentenced to community service.

The judge told the 26-year-old: “This was a disgraceful incident on Christmas Day, you behaved quite contrary to the spirit of that day”.

Stephen Thomas Gracey, of Rowan Park, pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault and assault on police at the Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

It was heard that on December 25, at around 8.50pm, police were called to a domestic disturbance in the Enniskeen area of Craigavon.

Officers arrived at the address to find a number of family members restraining the defendant.

Police attempted to hold Gracey up but he head-butted one officer leaving him with an injury to his upper lip.

Limb restraints and handcuffs had to be used as the defendant was arrested.

Gracey’s father claimed the defendant had pushed him against a wall and head-butted him no injuries were detected by police.

His brother stated he had been bitten by Gracey on the right forearm and right thigh.

Officers noted small cuts on this injured party’s arm and leg.

When interviewed at Lurgan Custody Suite, the defendant accepted that he had committed the assaults.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson stated: “He said in interview ‘if my father said so I must have done’.

“This was a hurtful thing for him to accept but his father has attended with him to court”.

He said: “It had been on Christmas Day; he, his brother and his father had been drinking.

“They had made a few jokes which were close to the bone and Mr Gracey lost control.”

Mr Thompson stated: “He does have a record but currently works full time.

“He works 12 hours shifts but would be able to engage with community service”.

He added: “Mr Gracey has now engaged with community addictions and has been off alcohol for some time.

“This offence was a product of drinking too much and loss of self-control”.

Deputy District Judge John Rea stated: “This was a disgraceful incident on Christmas Day, you behaved quite contrary to the spirit of that day”.

Gracey was sentenced to a combination order consisting of 18 months of probation and 100 hours of community service.

In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay £100 in compensation to all three of the injured parties.

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