Six months for stabbing
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
A NEWRY man who stabbed his neighbour during a dispute over noise has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment followed by 18 months on licence, writes Roisin Sweeney.
Eric Casey of Mourne View Park appeared before Newry Crown Court on Wednesday charged with wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and possession of a knife.
The charges stem from an incident which happened in the early hours of Sunday, September 16 in 2012 at Thomas Street in Bessbrook.
At around 4.30am during an ongoing dispute with neighbours over noise, a fight broke out during a confrontation between Casey and a neighbour. The victim, who was 24 at the time, was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital after the stabbing and was later moved to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he was released days later.
At a hearing last month the court was told that a witness told police he had been in the victim's home at the time of the incident following a night out.He said he heard the injured party shouting at Casey: "Get out of my f***ing garden" and when he looked out of a window, he saw the two men fighting but added that he didn't know who had started it.
A brother of the victim then intervened and the witness said both men were "coming forward" towards Casey.
Defence said the victim sustained "a cut to his arm and slight nick to his neck", adding that Casey used the knife to try and ward then off, as opposed to an actual stabbing motion.
The court was told that 35-year-old Casey did not have the demeanour of someone who was violent, rather that he was someone who had defended himself, adding that he had been assaulted before the incident occurred. Casey had previously contacted his landlord in regards to noise levels from the victim's home which was referred on to police the court heard.
Prosecution barrister Mr Chambers said he did not accept claims that Casey "had been thoroughly beaten before the stabbing".
Judge Kevin Finnegan QC said the issue of where the knife came from had not been settled, with prosecution claiming Casey had brought the knife which defence rejected.
After a brief adjournment Mr Little told the court: "He accepts that he brought the knife with him to protect himself as there were a number of men in the house.
“He has apologised, has shown genuine remorse and is ashamed. For the first time he had to reveal to his entire family that he hadn't been truthful."
During sentencing on Wednesday, Judge Finnegan said it was clear Casey was "a hard-working man who had achieved a lot" adding that the incident was out of character. He gave credit for his guilty plea and to the fact Casey had made provisions for his family while he would be in custody.
Judge Finnegan said he accepted that Casey had brought the knife as protection or to threaten and had not intended to use it, however he said such an action could not go unpunished.
Sentencing Casey to six months' imprisonment, Judge Finnegan said this would be followed by 18 months on licence because a previous incident where Casey had been in possession of a hammer gave him some concern.
Judge Finnegan said a longer sentence would have a detrimental effect on his family and young children.
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