Husband of Derry’s mayor receives suspended sentence for assault


The Mayor of Derry's husband has received a suspended sentence for assaulting a couple.

Derry Magistrates Court heard 34-year-old Declan Aaron McCallion kicked a man to the head and punched him in the face in an unprovoked assault.
McCallion, of Elaghmore Park, pleaded guilty to common assault, disorderly behaviour and resisting police.

The charges relate to an incident on the Abercorn Road on May 19.
McCallion is the husband of the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion.

The court heard that the victims were out for a walk when McCallion approached them from behind.

They believed he had been following them and crossed the road.
The 34-year-old continued to follow them and the male victim turned to speak to him.

McCallion came towards the man, who lifted his umbrella to put some distance between them.

He screamed at the man to 'put the f****** umbrella down' and the victim shouted at his wife to run and threw the umbrella at McCallion.
The court heard the 34-year-old ran after the woman, who managed to make it into her mother-in-law's home to call police.

McCallion then came back towards the man with clenched fists.
He grabbed the victim from behind and kicked him to the head.
The man took hold of McCallion's leg and wrestled him to the ground. He was punched in the face by the 34-year-old until other family members came out to help restrain the defendant.

When police arrived, McCallion began thrashing his head about and spitting.
He was also screaming at the top of his voice and attempted to punch and kick out at the arresting officers. Limb restraints had to be applied and it took four police officers to lift him into their vehicle.

During police interview, McCallion said he had no memory of the incident but said it was 'highly likely' the victims version of events were right.
He told police when he drinks he 'normally does something stupid'.
The court heard the 34-year-old was remorseful for his behaviour and 'began crying' during interview.

It was revealed the injured party sustained cuts and bruising to his arms and legs and is 'fearful of going out'.
Defence solicitor Kevin Casey said this was a 'upsetting and distressing incident' for the victims.

He said McCallion is dealing with issues he has in a 'constructive manner'.
The solicitor added that his client is due to start employment which will take him away from the city for periods of time.

Suspending a three month sentence for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm said this was 'clearly a very traumatic incident' for the victims.
He said McCallion appeared to be 'undergoing some sort of episode' and was very drunk at the time.

The judge said these sort of offences 'would normally merit an immediate custodial sentence' but the defendant does not have a bad record, has expressed genuine remorse and has been 'pro-active' in dealing with his issues.

Judge McElholm also ordered McCallion to pay £750 compensation to the injured party.