A 22 year old man who was16 when he knocked a man to the ground in a single punch assault, after the victim had words with his 13 year old brother, was given a two year suspended sentence at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.
Judge Dara Hayes heard the injured party required 20 stitches for a laceration on his face and has grown a beard to detract from the scar, and because nerve damage he suffered, results in a tingling sensation when shaving.
The court was told last Friday that the victim had been drinking in McNamee’s pub in Knockbridge on August 4th 2017 and left to order food in a takeaway.
He realised he had left his cigarettes in the pub and met a group of youths including one who in his view was being noisy.
The complainant told gardai he had told one of them to keep the noise down as older people who lived nearby would be asleep.
He came out of the pub and was walking across the road when in ‘a split second’ from the corner of his eye he saw someone approach from the right.
The next thing he remembered was being in the lounge with blood streaming down his face.
He suffered a 9cm L-shaped laceration from the bridge of his nose down to his lip for which he received 20 stitches and was referred to a plastic surgery trauma clinic.
A number of witnesses described how the man had had words with the defendant’s 13 year old brother, who had cried after telling him the man had "got in his face".
The youngster claimed the complainant had said their family were ‘scumbags’ although the court was told that's disputed by the injured party.
In his victim impact statement, he blamed the breakdown of his marriage the year after the assault, on his heavy drinking following the incident, for which he has attended counselling.
The now 22 year old defendant is assessed as being at low-risk of reoffending, and is hoping to secure a contract as a goalkeeper with a soccer club, once the transfer window opens.
The Defence barrister described it as an ‘over reaction’ by his client, who had no previous convictions, and in a letter of apology, the defendant said he completely regrets his actions and hoped the victim can forgive him.
Judge Dara Hayes noted the accused was a cannabis and occasional cocaine user, but now abstains from illicit drug use and has not come to adverse attention in the intervening five years.
He imposed a two year suspended sentence for assault causing harm on the defendant entering a bond to be of good behaviour for that period and on condition that he abstains from all illicit drugs.
Judge Hayes concluded by saying:"You have your life in front of you" and urged him to "take advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given”.
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