Armagh man who slashed alleged rapist’s face in ‘retaliatory attack’ jailed

An Armagh man who repeatedly slashed a suspected rapist’s face and neck with a Stanley knife in a “retaliatory attack” in the city center on New Year’s Eve has been jailed.

Oisin Smith wiped tears from his eyes as he was handed a four-year prison sentence at Newry Crown Court earlier this week.

The 21-year-old will spend half of his sentence in prison and the remainder under supervised license conditions.

Judge Paul Ramsey KC acknowledged the case was unusual but told the court a custodial sentence was inevitable.

Given the defendant’s plea, the previously clear record and the diagnosed psychological problems, the judge reduced the sentence from six to four years.

The defendant, of Legar Hill Park, Armagh, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on December 31, 2022.

Previous courts have been told he and his victim were friends but their relationship broke down over allegations the teenager had raped someone.

Prosecutor Fiona O’Kane said the duo exchanged messages in which Smith said he wanted “a fight and that will be us”.

However, when they met, he attacked his victim with a Stanley knife, leaving three gaping wounds on his cheek and neck.

Ms O’Kane said when police arrived at the scene of the attack on Lower English Street in Armagh, there was “a large amount of blood” in the area and over the clothing of the victim, who was initially given first aid for his injuries.

When police arrived at the home of an apparently drunken Smith, he immediately admitted his guilt, saying, “I hurt him. He raped this girl. That’s why I did it.”

After officers found a knife during a search, he said he had it “in case he comes back.”

The victim was taken to hospital for further treatment of his injuries.

Doctors removed a metal shard from one of the wounds, each between four and ten centimeters long, and then stitched his face back together.

Ms O’Kane said that since the attack the victim had been charged with rape and sexual assault against two women and was awaiting trial.

While Smith initially admitted to attacking his former friend, he gave police interviews without comment before officially claiming responsibility.

Ms O’Kane accepted that he deserved the highest credit for making a plea of ​​guilty to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the earliest opportunity.

Defense KC Kevin Magill filed a motion for damages and told the court that his client began therapy after the crime.

He added that his mental health issues were exacerbated by the fact that he knew he was going to prison.

Mr Magill also said delays in the case, which were “neither the fault of the defendant nor the prosecution”, had made matters worse.

He told the court that, as his client turned 21 last Friday, the conclusion of the proceedings will be “the best 21st birthday present he could have wished for”.

Mr Magill continued: “It is with relief that the court delivers its judgments today.”

Jailing Smith, Judge Paul Ramsey said that although he admitted his guilt and had a clear previous convictions, the fact that the attack was premeditated and carried out while under the influence of alcohol was a significant aggravating factor

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