Man who battered victim outside hotel can avoid jail if he pays €7,500

December 22, 2022

A man who battered another man outside a Co Donegal hotel fracturing his eye-socket will avoid prison if he pays his victim €7,500 in compensation.

Gary McMenamin admitted a savage attack on David Porter outside the Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran.

McMenamin approached Mr Porter in a drunken state inside the hotel’s nightclub claiming their fathers had fallen out many years previously.

The 42-year-old appeared at Donegal Circuit Court following the brutal assault on which he “reigned down blows” on Mr Porter in the early hours of September 22nd, 2019.

The court was told the accused, who had downed eight pints and six shorts, “lost control” when he drank a certain type of alcohol.

McMenamin initially approached Mr Porter inside the disco of the hotel claiming there had been a dispute between their fathers but the bouncers had intervened.

Mr Porter left the hotel with two friends but was set upon outside by McMenamin who struck him with several punches.

He was bleeding heavily and rushed to Sligo University Hospital and then transferred to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment to a fractured eye socket.

Mr Porter, from Castlefin in Co Donegal, told the court that he is a farmer and to this day he still suffers from double-vision on occasions as a result of the unprovoked attack.

In his victim impact statement he says that he had to have a titanium plate fitted and he still finds it difficult sometimes to do ordinary tasks on the farm.

He said that although he knew McMenamin to see, he did not know him personally.

McMenamin, of Hillview park, Castlederg in Co Tyrone, was arrested later and taken to Ballyshannon Garda Station for questioning.

He said he had a lot of alcohol taken but initially claimed that it was Mr Porter who initially took the first swing at him.

He later admitted this was not the case.

Under questioning by his own barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, McMenamin said he had consumed eight pints of beer and six vodkas on the night and that he had issues when he drank spirits.

McMenamin said he was very sorry for what he had done to Mr Porter and if he could go back and change things he would.

The accused is a carer for his 79-year-old father and works when he can.

He brought the sum of €2,500 to court as a gesture of compensation to his victim.

The court was told that he had one previous conviction for assault but it was back as far ago as 2009.

Mr Nolan said his client had consumed a lot of alcohol and had initially thought Mr Porter had initiated the disagreement but upon viewing CCTV footage realised this was not the case.

He aded that the probation report showed his client was at a low risk of reoffending but did say that when he drank the wrong type of alcohol he lost control.

Mr Nolan said he was asking Judge John Aylmer to consider the apology offered by McMenamin and also the compensation offered when considering his sentence.

Passing sentence, Judge Aylmer said he placed the attack in the mid-range of such offences and one which merited a prison sentence of three years before considering mitigation.

In mitigation he said McMenamin had entered an early guilty plea, is now remorseful and had brought the sum of €2,500 by way of compensation.

He added the accused was also a carer for his elderly father, continues to work part-time as a bricklayer and was under the influence of alcohol on the night, especially vodka which he had maintained was a bad idea for him.

The Probation Services said there was also a low risk of McMenamin reoffending and for all these factors combined he said he was reducing the headline sentence to one of two and a half years.

However, noting the victim is not averse to receiving the compensation, Judge Aylmer said he intended to hold his hand on the matter but wanted McMenamin to increase the compensation offered to €7,500.

He adjourned the finals sentencing for a year saying if the compensation was paid then he would impose the two and a half year sentence but suspend it in its entirety.