Ex-soldier admits biting man's nose

Published Wednesday, 28 May 2014
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A former Irish army soldier has pleaded guilty to biting the tip of an Algerian man's nose off during an unprovoked assault close to Londonderry city centre last year.

Ex-soldier admits biting man's nose
Fitzgerald will be sentenced for the attack next month. (© UTV)

Barry Fitzgerald, 25, from Doire House, Drumnishear in Carrigans, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty at Derry Crown Court on Wednesday, the morning of his trial, to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Ali Halimi outside a fast food takeaway at Waterloo Street on 14 April 2013.

Fitzgerald, who resigned from the Irish army earlier this month following seven years military service, spent five months in custody following his arrest for the attack.

He has no previous convictions and will be sentenced for the offence on 25 June.

Judge Brian Sherrard ordered the preparation of pre-sentence and victim impact reports prior to the sentencing date.

He released Fitzgerald on continuing bail and told the ex-soldier that the fact he was being granted bail should not be taken as an indication of the sentence he would ultimately receive next month.

As part of his bail conditions Fitzgerald is banned from entering within the 30mph zone around Derry except for police, legal or medical appointments.

Fitzgerald, who has already surrendered his passport, was also ordered by Judge Sherrard not to leave the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland without the permission of the court.

Both defence and prosecution barristers said it was accepted that the attack on Mr Halimi was not racially motivated.

Speaking on behalf on his client, Defence barrister Paul Kearney said Fitzgerald offered his heartfelt apologies to Mr Halimi and to his family and hoped that his guilty plea would enable Mr Halimi to return to his normal way of life as soon as possible.

© UTV News
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