Man sliced part of victim’s ear in ‘senseless attack’

Man sliced part of victim’s ear in ‘senseless attack’

10 October 2018

A 28 year-old Drumaness man has been jailed for eight years at Downpatrick Crown Court for “virtually” cutting off a man’s ear with a steak knife in an “unprovoked attack”.

Sean Smith, of The Green, was sentenced on Thursday by Judge Piers Grant for wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

He will spend four years in custody and four years on licence. A restraining order preventing him from having contact with his victim for 10 years was also put in place.

On hearing the sentence, one young woman in the packed public gallery shouted out: “Thanks very much.”

Smith made to leave the dock before sentencing was finished, shouting: “Just let me go.” He had to be restrained by custody officers.

The court heard that the 44 year-old victim required 56 stitches to the laceration. Re-attaching his ear had required “significant medical effort”, Judge Grant added.

The attack was sparked off by an incident between Smith and the injured man’s 14-year-old daughter in Church View, Downpatrick, on May 27 last year.

Judge Grant said that the girl told her father that Smith had shouted comments to her off a sexual nature.

The father and several others went to Gaol Lane to find Smith in order to remonstrate to him about his comments.

Judge Grant said that he rejected Smith’s claim that the injured man was the aggressor.

He said that eye witnesses had given evidence that Smith had jumped down from a high wall and produced a steak knife from the inside of his sleeve.

Judge Grant said: “We heard evidence from eye witnesses that you held up the knife twice and said you were not afraid to use it. 

“I am assured that you were very much the aggressor in this unprovoked attack on this innocent man.”

The judge added that the attack had happened in front of the man’s daughter, who was left distressed as a result.

Smith at one point interrupted the judge’s summing up and shouted: “How come I got all of the injuries if I was the one who attacked first?”

Judge Grant said Smith had a “significant record” and had had a “clearly difficult and unsettled life but it was clear that his violence and temper is a real problem”.

The PSNI later welcomed Smith’s conviction, describing the incident as “a senseless and brutal attack on an innocent man”.

Detective Constable Michael Brannigan said: “This has not only had a physical impact on the victim, but also a psychological impact on him and his family, which is ongoing. 

“It was a senseless and brutal attack on an innocent man and I am pleased that this individual is off our streets.

“Anyone carrying and using knives is a danger to all and should expect imprisonment when caught.”