Mayor of Derry’s husband given suspended sentence for assault
Declan Aaron McCallion ordered to pay £750 compensation to man he attacked
Declan Aaron McCallion, the husband of Cllr Elisha McCallion, pleaded guilty to physically assaulting a man at Academy Road and guilty to assaulting the man’s wife by putting her in fear of violence. File photograph: Graham Hughes
The husband of the Sinn Féin Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council has been given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted assaulting a husband and wife .
Declan Aaron McCallion (34), the husband of Cllr Elisha McCallion, from Elaghmore Park in the Galliagh area of the city was also ordered at the city’s Magistrate’s Court to pay within the next six months compensation of £750 (€1,047) to the man he admitted assaulting.
McCallion pleaded guilty to physically assaulting the man at Academy Road and guilty to assaulting the man’s wife by putting her in fear of violence. He also admitted committing disorderly behaviour and resisting a police officer during the same incident.
A Public Prosecution Service solicitor told District Judge Barney McElholm that on the night of May 19th 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 came closer to them 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**king 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 managed to run into her mother-in-law’s nearby home where she 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 step brother, 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 for his actions. The man he had assaulted was later 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.
“There are issues which clearly need to be looked at in relation to the defendant and they are currently being dealt with in the most stringent of manners”, Mr Casey said.
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 against him.
The judge said it was undoubtedly a traumatic incident for the couple. He said McCallion “seems to be undergoing some sort of episode in his life. He accepts he was drunk and he accepts he needs to take steps to address his difficulties”.
Mr McElholm said these were the sort of offences which could lead to an immediate custodial sentence. However he 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.
The judge imposed a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered McCallion to pay £750 in compensation to the man he had assaulted.