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Court hears when sober man is ‘likeable…but just add alcohol and the Hyde to his Jekyll appears’

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A defence barrister told a court that when sober a Portstewart man is a “likeable fellow…but just add alcohol and the Hyde to his Jekyll appears”.

Lawyer Francis Rafferty was referring to Brian Dickinson (24), of Lever Road, Portstewart, who assaulted a woman and was disorderly on November 11 last year and six days later assaulted a man occasioning him actual bodily harm.

At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday a prosecutor said Dickinson had “punched and kicked” a woman and shouted and swore when arrested on November 11.

On November 17 he had consumed alcohol and was in a property where he headbutted and punched a man, leaving him with a black eye and cuts following an incident involving a PlayStation.

The defendant later went to Coleraine Police Station and made full admissions to that incident.

The prosecutor said the defendant claimed it happened after the injured party was “shouting in his face”.

Mr Rafferty said Dickinson was “the very epitome of someone who is to all intents and purposes an industrious and likeable fellow” in full time employment but when drink is onboard there is a “loss of all reason”.

He added: “Just add alcohol and the Hyde to his Jekyll appears”.

The defendant came to court with a suspended sentence hanging over him.

District Judge Peter King said it was a difficult sentencing because without drink the defendant was said to be “almost the ideal citizen”.

However, on the other hand, he said Dickinson had ten previous convictions.

The judge handed down a 13 months jail sentence, suspended for two years, and told Dickinson that should act as a “starker reminder for you not to drink”.

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