A MAN who broke his father's eye socket is aware that even one punch can kill, a defence barrister told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena.
Lawyer Neil Moore was speaking as Colin McAllister (23), of Donegore Drive, Antrim town, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to his dad on June 15, 2021.
When police arrived at an address in Antrim the injured party's right eye was completely closed over and his face was covered in blood.
A prosecutor said the injured party had gone to the defendant's home around 6.40pm and had brought dinner, as he did every Tuesday.
The court heard the defendant accused his dad of "lying to him" and then pushed his father on the back causing food he was carrying to fall to the ground.
The prosecutor said there was a "verbal altercation" and the defendant knocked an open bottle of Coke from his dad's hand and when the injured party picked it up "the contents spilled over the defendant".
The defendant then punched his father once to left side of the jaw.
The prosecutor said the dad asked "Is that it?" and the defendant then punched him again, once with his right fist and once with his left fist, causing his upper lip to "split" and also "resulted in a fractured right eye socket".
The court heard the injured man was told there is a chance a metal plate may have to be inserted.
The prosecutor said the defendant, who had a previously clear record, told police he punched his dad once and when his father had taken two steps towards him he hit him twice more.
Mr Moore said: "The tragedy in this case is taht a son assaults a father and undoubtedly leads to a significant breakdown within that family dynamic".
He said there had been a "bubbling animosity" from the son.
The lawyer claimed that when a drink was knocked over the defendant's dad picked it up and "pours it over his son".
Mr Moore said McAllister Senior had asked his son: "Is that all you have got?"
The lawyer added: "One punch can lead to a death and undoubtedly that is not lost on Mr McAllister junior".
Sentencing the defendant, District Judge Nigel Broderick said he could take into account the previously clear record, guilty plea and an expression of remorse.
He added it was a "very sorry and sad incident".
Tje judge continued: "Any case that involves an assault between family members is always regrettable. The injury itself is serious. Hopefully the intervention of surgery and a metal plate is unlikely".
The defendant was given a six months jail sentence, suspended for two years.