A street drinker who assaulted a man days before he died in hospital has been fined £200.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard Dylan Quaile, 29, struck out at Gareth Rynne in the city centre early on the morning of August 14, 2022.

Mr Rynne, 39, was found slumped unconscious outside a nearby McDonald’s restaurant several hours later.

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, but his condition deteriorated and he died three days later.

Quaile, of Boyhill Park in Maguiresbridge, Co Fermanagh, was initially arrested and questioned on suspicion of either his murder or manslaughter.

However, he pleaded guilty today to a charge of common assault.

Prosecutors said detectives carried out a trawl of CCTV footage in a bid to establish the victim’s movements before he was discovered at around 8am.

Despite gaps in the footage, Mr Rynne and the defendant were seen together hours earlier on Callender Street, close to a storage point for Marks & Spencer cages.

“The prosecution case is that Dylan Quaile strikes out at Gareth Rynne in that recess area,” a Crown lawyer said.

“You can’t necessarily see the assault, but you can see an arm moving across and can then see Gareth Rynne going to the ground.

“The defendant leaves at that stage, and the injured party emerges a few moments later.”

Quaile was subsequently arrested and accepted being in the footage.

He told police that he could not recall the incident due to a combination of heavy drinking and taking medication tablets.

With detectives unable to account for Mr Rynne’s subsequent movements, the court heard there is no established link between the assault and his death.

Defence solicitor Pearse McDermott acknowledged: “This was a very tragic incident for the deceased and his family.”

He described his client as a street drinker and an acquaintance of Mr Rynne who had been in the victim’s company on the night of the incident.

Mr MacDermott added: “He accepts the assault, but there is no connection between that and the deceased’s ultimate death.”

Imposing a £200 fine on Quaile, District Judge John Rea offered his condolences to the victim’s family.

He added: “The offence itself is not significant enough to merit a custodial sentence.”