A DONEGAL man has been jailed for ten months after admitting to attacking and robbing another man in Ballybofey.

Darius McAteer (21), with an address at Admiran Park, Stranorlar, is currently in custody at Castlerea Prison for other offences.

McAteer appeared this week at Letterkenny District Court on charges relating to separate incidents in 2017 and 2019.

The court heard that on April 17, 2017, Gardaí received a report that a Ryan Scanlon was in A&E following an assault on Glenfin Street, Ballybofey. A number of assaults were captured on CCTV. Scanlon had no recollection of McAtter having assaulted him, but witnesses placed McAteer as one of the perpetrators.

McAteer subsequently made admissions on the matter.

A victim impact statement, described by Judge Paul Kelly, as ‘very harrowing’, Mr Scanlon outlined how he had been left permanently scarred and had to attend over 100 medical appointments between three different hospitals over three years.

“The incident has changed him forever and taken over his life,” Judge Kelly said.

It was noted that Mr Scanlon’s statement detailed how he knew the defendant’s family and how he knew they had been ‘trying their best’. He said there was a ‘lack of services and added: ‘I just wish he gets the right help.’.

The court heard how on September 20, 2019, Gardaí received a report of an assault and a robbery. Niall Deegan was staying in Jackson’s Hotel and was in the company of two males whom he had met outside the hotel.

In an incident, Mr Deegan received injuries to his face and arms. His phone, wallet and jacket was taken by the two males.

After arrest, McAteer made certain admissions and return the phone and the jacket. The phone was cracked and the wallet, which contained €90 and $50 as well as bank cards and a provisional licence, was not recovered. Mr Deegan suffered a black eye, a chipped tooth, bloody nose and cuts on his face and arm.

Defence solicitor Mr Frank Dorrian said his client ‘starts every day with a blank canvas’, was ‘hopelessly addicted’ to alcohol and takes diazepam, which gives rise to irrational behaviour.

“He presents as perfectly affable, articulate and reasonable,” Mr Dorrian said.

“He is before the court at an alarming rate due to irrational and unfocussed events, each one driven by drink.

“He is polite, exceptionally so, when he speaks in the cold light of day. He has no capacity or insight. He is being seen by an addiction counsellor in Castlerea and it is bringing some level of comprehension. I don’t know if or when that will bear fruit.”

Mr Dorrian said McAteer had been in and out of mental health services since he was eight years old. Since he turned 18, he has been ‘disqualified’ from those services, which has left him ‘rudderless and on his own in terms of managing his services’.

Judge Kelly said that McAteer was ‘a very troubled young man’.

Judge Kelly said he accepted that McAteer was not on his own in either incident.

For the attack on Mr Scanlon, Judge Kelly sentenced McAteer to four months in prison, backdating the term to July 27, when he entered custody.

For the incident with Mr Deegan, McAteer was sentenced to six months in prison, that to run consecutive to the preceding sentence.


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