Port man jailed over ‘drug debt’ head-butt

A man who head-butted another man over an alleged drug debt was jailed for four months when he appeared before last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court.

Lucian Belelie, 44 The Oaks, Kilnacourt Woods, Portarlington was charged with assault at Cooltederry, Portarlington on August 19 last.

Garda Inspector Aidan Farrelly said the incident occurred after the defendant “demanded money owed from the injured party for a drug debt”.

The defendant then head-butted the 19-year-old victim, causing injuries to the victim’s face and mouth. Inspector Farrelly said the injuries were minor in nature.

The defendant had a number of previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Declan Breen said his client accepted that he had struck the injured party and caused the injuries. He said the defendant was owed money, which he needed. “It doesn’t justify what he did,” Mr Breen said.

The defendant moved to Ireland from South Africa with his parents and went to school in Walsh Island. Although unemployed, he is doing an IT course with FAS.

“His issue is a cannabis habit,” Mr Breen said, which had developed into a heavy habit “which went on to cause him the difficulties which he is in”.

“Matters have turned around for him,” Mr Breen said, and the defendant’s partner is now expecting their first child. “This has caused him to grow up and mature and he has kicked his drug habit. He has asked me to formally apologise,” he added.

Judge Catherine Staines noted that young people are regularly before the court and say they committed crimes “because they owed a drug debt and were in fear of assault”.

“This court is not going to tolerate this type of behaviour. He has a previous conviction for assault and he was given a chance,” Judge Staines said.

She imposed the four months prison sentence and fixed recognisance in the event of an appeal.


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