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Suspended prison term for Middletown man who brought friend to Richhill house to deal with dispute

A Middletown man who brought friend to a property to deal with a dispute over a relationship has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Benjamin Telford, of Drumhillery Park, appeared for sentencing before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Newry Courthouse this week.

The 20-year-old was charged with one count of common assault and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard that on August 23 of last year, the defendant and a co-accused attended a property in Richhill uninvited to discuss his previous relationship with the injured party. The situation escalated and an argument ensued, in which the defendant “lost his temper”.

A third party attempted to intervene and the defendant pushed him onto a sofa. The defendant and co-accused then placed the injured party in a headlock.

Telford punched the injured party to the “left side of the head” while the co-accused had him placed in a headlock.

The injured party then “lost consciousness for approximately five seconds” shortly before police arrived.

The court heard that the co-accused had been dealt with by way of youth conference.

Telford’s defence Counsel, John Paul McCann BL, noted that the injured party was “one of his best friends, and an issue had developed between the pair”.

“The intention was to simply get answers originally but he became upset as time went on.

“It shouldn’t have happened, but you’ll note that it’s very, very out of character,” he said.

“Thankfully there are no notable injuries and it’s the five second loss of consciousness which is the reason he’s been charged at the level he’s been charged.”

He added that his client wishes that he had “handled it differently” and seeks to do “whatever it takes” to make amends for his actions.

District Judge Anne Marshall said she was “somewhat sceptical” that the defendant had gone to the house to discuss the matter “in a reasonable manner”, owing to the fact that he went to the house accompanied by a friend.

“The fact that you took somebody else…along with you causes me some concern as does your actions when you then attended,” Judge Marshall said.

Taking into account his guilty plea and lack of record, along with the fact he was working, Judge Marshall imposed a sentence of three months in custody, suspended for 18 months, in respect of the common assault. This was accompanied by £250 compensation to be paid to the victim.

For the assault occasioning ABH, Telford received a sentence of five months in prison, suspended for 18 months, along with £500 compensation.

This added to a total sentence of five months in custody, suspended for 18 months, and £750 in compensation, with 26 weeks to pay.

Judge Marshall added: “If you get into any new trouble and you lift your hand to anybody… will go to prison for five months.”READY

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