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Prison sentence for ‘appalling’ and ‘unprovoked’ attack on man out with his wife


A Craigavon man who assaulted another male after having a disagreement with their wife has been sentenced to four months in prison.

Court heard that the 23-year-old had been handed a lengthy prison sentence earlier this month which would see him behind bars until October next year.

Matthew Johnston, 23, of Drumgor Heights, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

It was heard that on October 1, last year, the injured party had gone to a kebab shop, on Market Street Lurgan, with his wife.

He had gone to the counter to order whilst she waited by the door.

The defendant, with a group of men, entered the premises and Johnston walked on the injured party’s wife’s foot.

She passed comment on this before the defendant became confrontational saying: “Why was your foot there?”

Johnston then left and congregated outside with the group of men.

As the injured party and his wife left, the defendant came over and asked the woman to apologise.

She replied that she had nothing to be sorry for.

Johnston then stated: “Do you know who I am, I am Matthew Johnston, you should be scared.”

The defendant then punched the injured party, who had been standing side on, in the head.

Prosecution said that the injured party did not have a chance to defend himself.

Johnston then grabbed the injured party by the back of the head and hit his face with his knee twice.

The defendant was soon stopped by the group and it was at this point the injured party and his wife managed to get away.

It was heard that Johnston had invited them back to his house for a party.

The injured party suffered injuries including; a swollen right eye, bruising to the face, a bleeding nose and a swollen lip.

Court heard that Johnston had been handed a lengthy prison sentence earlier this month and was not due for release until October of next year.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “This was a nasty incident, Mr Johnston’s record does him no favours, every offence he is involved in has been committed when alcohol has been taken.

“The problem is not that he is an addict but rather when he drinks he normally gets into fights”.

He commented: “Strangely Mr Johnston has been in employment all his life and had a chance as a rugby player having attended the Ulster academy”.

Mr Lunny finished by saying: “This was a very nasty incident and Mr Johnston knows about the risk of consecutive sentencing”.

Deputy District Judge Peter Magill addressing the defendant said: “Mr Johnston, this was appalling behaviour, utterly appalling, and one that warrants a custodial sentence.

“If you had have contested this you would have been looking at approximately six months”.

Johnston was sentenced to four months in prison, which were ordered to run concurrently to his present sentence.

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