A man who allegedly called his attacker a ‘Chinky c***’ during a row outside a chip van had his jaw smashed in two places, a court has heard.

Damian Chan, 24, (pictured) was found ‘not guilty’ of assaulting Ronan McElaney, 23, outside a chip van in Buncrana in November 2008.

Defence barrister Peter Nolan, SC, accused Mr McElaney, from Clonmany, of starting the fight by assaulting a woman in the queue at the chippie and of being a racist.

He claimed “You were so drunk, obliterated and out of your brain – not only have you assaulted one lady, then her boyfriend, you started the whole thing.

“Mr Chan was protecting his friends. You then decided to call him a ‘chinky c***’. You used racist abuse that night.”

He added that “Lord knows what would have happened” – if Mr Chan, from The Woods, Buncrana, hadn’t intervened in the row.

However Mr McElaney said the claims were “all lies” and claimed he had been attacked from behind and suffered horrific jaw injuries.

His girlfriend gave “inconsistent” evidence in the case, defence counsel claimed.

Medical evidence revealed Mr McElaney’s jaw had snapped in two places leaving Mr McElaney being forced to hold his jaw with his hand when he spoke.

He later underwent surgery for his injuries at Altnagelvin Hospital, the court heard.

Witnesses however had given different accounts of the incident which took place at 3am on November 23, 2008 after a night out at Liberty’s nightclub in Buncrana.

There had been a scuffle involving several people, the court heard, with Mr McElaney accused by the defence barrister of starting the altercation by arguing with a woman in the queue for a chip van and allegedly pushing her in the face.

Mr Nolan, in a lengthy and detailed legal argument in the absence of the jury, told the court there was no clear evidence against his client for assaulting Mr McElaney.

He argued that a Garda who took the original complaint from Mr McElaney’s parents and girlfriend had failed to take a note of it and the Garda had mistakenly described the assault during his questioning of Mr Chan under caution four months after the alleged incident.

Judge John O’Hagan agreed with the legal case put by Mr Nolan and called back the jury to direct them to find Mr Chan not guilty.

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