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Man who punched bar owner in face given chance to avoid jail if he avoids drink

Defendant told he will not lose his liberty is he stays off drink over 'season of spirits'

Beer pub alcohol police

A judge has given a Magheralin man the chance to avoid going to jail if he can stay off drink over the “season of spirits”.

Brian Purdy, of Bredon Park, pleaded guilty to common assault at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The court heard how, on May 6 at around 10pm, the 30-year-old was asked by the owner of Joe Mac’s bar, Portadown, to leave the premises, but he refused.

The injured party then told the defendant that he would contact police.

At this point he was followed by Purdy who tried to get behind the bar.

The owner tried to stop the defendant from doing so but was punched to the nose and above the right eyebrow.

It was revealed the injured party was left with a cut on the nose and bruising above his right eye.

With the help of staff, Purdy was ejected from the bar.

When interviewed the next day Purdy told officers he could not remember the events of the previous night but said he was sorry.

Defence solicitor Richard Monteith reiterated this, saying the defendant could not recall how he suffered “some substantial injuries to himself”.

He added: “This is a man who should not take alcohol.”

Court heard Purdy had a lengthy record but only one previous violent offence which dated back to 2012.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “There is no use in me sentencing him until he realises he has a serious alcohol problem.”

Court learned the pre-sentence report highlighted how defendant told probation that what he had drunk that night was not as much as he normally did.

Opting to defer sentencing, District Judge Kelly told him: “I want to see hard proof you have got help and have stopped drinking.

“If you succeed I will impose a sentence which will not result in the loss of your liberty.”

The case was deferred until February 22 of next year.

He left court with District Judge Kelly’s final words to him: “That takes you over the season of spirits and you won’t be able to do that without help.”

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