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Charge of having can of Red Bull as offensive weapon withdrawn as court hears of ‘cowardly’ filling station assault

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A charge of possessing a can of Red Bull as an offensive weapon was withdrawn against a man who admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm after striking a man in “cowardly” attack at a filling station in Coleraine.

Christopher Robert Neil Cupples (36), a plasterer and father-of-four, of Gransden Court, Coleraine, committed the offence on September 14 last year.

Coleraine Magistrates Court heard Cupples accused the injured party of making “disparaging comments” about his partner.

The filling station incident was captured on CCTV.

A prosecutor said the injured party had been in a queue at a filling station at Bushmills Road in Coleraine on the morning of September 14 when he was “hit hard” on the mouth and fell to the floor and the defendant was shouting at him.

A prosecutor said Cupples appeared to have struck the victim with a can of Red Bull.

Cupples left but a short time later he got out of a van and shouted and swore at the victim causing him to believe he was going to be attacked again.

The man needed three stitches to his upper lip at hospital and he felt “very sore” and “generally shaken”.

In Cupples’ defence, the court was told that he accepted he had picked up a can of Red Bull but insisted it wasn’t in the hand that he had used to strike his victim.

He claimed he had punched his victim after the injured party had made “disparaging comments” about his partner but accepted “acting totally inappropriately”.

The court heard it was “totally out of character” and Cupples had expressed remorse.

District Judge Liam McNally said it was a “violent, unjustified, assault” on a man, “without any provocation from him on the day”.

The judge said it was a “cowardly” attack in which Cupples had taken the other man by surprise “and just simply lashed out and thumped him”.

Cupples was given a six months prison term, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay the victim £500 compensation.

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