A young man, who knocked another a man out after punching him in the face in a nightclub, will have to pay €1,500 in compensation before he is sentenced.
Oran Cregan, 20, of Bolin, Iskaheen, Muff was accused of assault causing harm to Christopher McLaughlin at Tul na Rí, Carndonagh, on June 6, 2016.
He appeared before Carndonagh District Court where he pleaded guilty to the charge against him.
Garda Inspector David Murphy told the court that the victim, Mr. McLaughlin from Malin Head, had to have surgery to repair his nose and had his left front tooth chipped in the attack.
He said Mr. McLaughlin is still in pain since the procedure and is still on pain relief medication. He also had to take time off work following the attack.
The court heard that the Malin Head man had been enjoying a night out in Carndonagh and dancing on the dance floor when a man, he didn’t know, hit him twice on the arm.
‘After the second time, Mr. McLaughlin asked him what his problem was,’ Insp. Murphy explained.
‘But the man [Cregan] punched him with one punch in the head. Mr. McLaughlin fell to the floor and he believes he temporarily lost consciousness because when he came round he was in the toilets being cleaned up.’
Insp. Murphy said Mr. McLaughlin was taken to Nowdoc to receive treatment to his face.
The court heard that the bouncer in Tul na Rí was on the scene within three seconds and Cregan was escorted from the nightclub. Insp. Murphy said Cregan was identified as the culprit to Gardaí.
The Buncrana Garda said Oran Cregan was arrested on November 24 and taken to Buncrana Garda Station.
‘During the course of his interview with the investigating gardaí the majority of Mr. Cregan’s approach was to answer no comment when questions were put to him,’ Insp. Murphy added.
A victim impact statement and photographs of Mr. McLaughlin were handed into Judge Paul Kelly, but there were no details on the cost of his medical expenses.
Judge Kelly handed the victim impact statement and photographs to Mr. Cregan and ordered him to examine them before briefly adjourning the hearing.
Defence solicitor Ray Lannon said his client had no previous convictions and had been out with friends from Muff and had too much to drink on the night in question. He said after reading the victim impact statement, Cregan had an even greater insight into the damage he caused Mr. McLaughlin.
Mr. Lannon said his young client left school after his Junior Cert and had worked in the construction industry locally, in Scotland and in Australia, but he returned to deal with his charge.
The defence solicitor said on the night in question Mr. Cregan said he was being pushed about a couple of times on the dance floor and this annoyed him.
‘He accepts that his behaviour was out of order but it was out of character,’ Mr. Lannon said.
‘He took it out on Mr. McLaughlin and he apologises but it wasn’t premeditated he had too much to drink. He’s asked me to point out his remorse and he understands the injuries he has caused but he has hopes for the future and his future career.
He would like to travel in the future and he knows also that living around here he will most likely have to travel to gain work.’
The Carn solicitor opened a number of number of references to the court, including statements from the Muff Parish Priest Fr. John Farren and Thomas McColgan, Butcher.
In his statement Fr. Farren said Cregan’s parents were hard working people and held in high esteem in the local community. He said Oran is kind and helpful towards his elderly grandparents, who live nearby, and the charge against him is out of nature.
Similarly Mr. McColgan said Oran is not known as someone who resolves problems in this manner. He said Oran is the son of a family friend and has helped him out in the butchers on a number of occasions, adding that he is a ‘peaceful and respectful’ young man.
Judge Kelly said he accepted that and had read over the references but he said this didn’t change the fact that Cregan had caused Mr. McLaughlin to suffer grievously as a result of his actions.
Mr. Lannon said his client was offering Mr. McLaughlin €1,500 in cash, which he had with in court thanks to help he had received from the family support, as a gesture.
Judge Kelly said what Cregan did was ‘not at all acceptable’, describing it as thuggish behaviour.
‘Whatever jostling was going on on the dance floor was one thing, but your response was to hit someone in the face,’ Judge Kelly said.
‘It is not at all acceptable and is nothing more than thuggish behaviour – it’s not on.’
However he did give Cregan credit for ‘putting his hands up’ and dealing with the case with a degree of remorse.
He put the case back until February 20 for Mr. McLaughlin’s medical expenses to be produced in court.
‘I accept what you have said about your client and I give him credit for the way he has met the case so far,’ added Judge Kelly before adjourning sentencing until February 20.