Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 14:58 UK

Coma attacker 'not a lost cause'

Darryl Proctor
Darryl Proctor was convicted of inflicting GBH with intent

A Londonderry teenager convicted of a sectarian attack which left his victim in a coma is "not a lost cause", the Court of Appeal has heard.

Darryl Proctor, 19, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Paul McCauley at a barbecue in the Waterside in July 2006.

Mr McCauley, 33, was at a barbecue with friends when they were attacked. He has never regained consciousness.

Lawyers for Proctor have asked for his 12-year detention to be cut by a third.

This would allow him to complete his sentence in a young offender's centre.

Proctor, from the Fountain in Derry, was 15-years-old when he and up to five others attacked Mr McCauley.

At his trial, Mr Justice Hart told the court the attack was "undoubtedly sectarian" as Proctor left his home in the Fountain estate and walked to the Waterside where a mob "picked on Mr McCauley and his companions because they were close to Chapel Road and so were thought to be likely to be Roman Catholics".

Defence counsel Eilis MacDermott argued at the Court of Appeal on Friday that Proctor's sentence was excessive.

She said more weight should have been given to his relative youth, the guilty plea, and the fact that others were involved.

Crown barrister Gary McCrudden argued the trial judge had taken all the mitigating factors into account.

"Proctor was playing his part in what had been a pre-meditated, brutal, sectarian attack in full knowledge of what was going on around him," he said.

The case was adjourned.

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