The husband of the Sinn Fein mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council has been given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted carrying out a drunken and unprovoked assault on a husband and wife last month.
Father-of-three Declan Aaron McCallion (34), husband of Elisha McCallion, from Elaghmore Road in the Galliagh area of Londonderry, was also ordered at the city’s Magistrates Court yesterday to pay within the next six months compensation of £750 to the man he admitted assaulting.McCallion pleaded guilty to assaulting the man at Academy Road and guilty to assaulting his victim’s wife by putting her in fear of violence. Both victims are in their fifties. He also admitted disorderly behaviour and resisting a police officer in the same incident.
A Public Prosecution Service solicitor told District Judge Barney McElholm that on the night of May 19, police received reports of an assault in Academy Road. When they arrived at the scene two men were restraining McCallion on the ground and the officers took control of McCallion.
The solicitor said the husband and wife were out for a late night walk. They saw McCallion approaching them from behind. As he got closer they believed McCallion was following them, so the couple crossed the road. However, McCallion crossed the road after them and as he continued to approach the couple the husband turned to him and asked why he was following him and his wife.
“The defendant continued to approach the couple and the husband used his umbrella to force a distance between himself and his wife and the defendant. The defendant shouted at the husband: ‘Put that f***ing umbrella down’. The husband shouted to his wife to run and then threw his umbrella at the defendant,” the prosecutor said.
McCallion then ran past the husband and chased after the man’s wife, but she ran into her mother-in-law’s nearby home and telephoned the police.
“The defendant then ran back at his male victim with his fists clenched and jumped on him from behind and began to kick him on the head when the man fell to the ground. The man managed to grab the defendant’s leg and wrestled him to the ground where the defendant began to punch him on the face.
“The victim shouted for help and two men, the victim’s father and stepbrother, came to his assistance and they restrained the defendant until the police arrived. When the officers arrived the defendant verbally abused them and became aggressive towards them. He kicked out at one of the officers and restraints were placed on the defendant’s legs. Because of his violent behaviour the police called for a cell van and when it arrived four officers placed the defendant into the van”, the solicitor added.
After his arrest McCallion was interviewed. He told the police he had been drinking excessively at a local bar. He started to cry in the police station and expressed his remorse. The man he assaulted was treated for cuts and bruises to his upper and lower body.
Defence solicitor Kevin Casey said it was a disturbing incident for the couple and for the two members of the public who came to their assistance. He said McCallion offered his deepest and genuine apologies to them.
He said McCallion was about to start a job which would keep him out of Derry for a considerable time. He said McCallion fully admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity and did not dispute any of the facts in the case.
District Judge Mr McElholm took into consideration McCallion’s early pleas of guilty and that his last relevant conviction was 10 years ago.
Mr McElholm said it was clear from McCallion’s police interviews that he was horrified by his own actions.