Builder who lost temper and attacked teen he thought had stolen his son’s bike escapes jail

By Sarah-Jane Murphy

A Dublin builder has escaped jail after he “just lost it” and attacked a teenager by holding him up over his head and slamming him onto the ground with force.

John Paul Byrne (38) of Parnell Green, Parnell Estate, Mulhuddart, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Eoin Healy (17) at a house in Mulhuddart on October 9, 2016.

A garda sergeant told the court that Mr Healy was cycling home on the night when he was confronted by Byrne, who recognised the bike as having been stolen from his son earlier that day.

Mr Healy was unaware that the bike was stolen property.

“The defendant assumed Mr Healy had stolen it and he just lost it; he grabbed him, held him above his head and then slammed him into the ground forcefully,” the sergeant said.

Sandra Frayne BL, defending, said father-of-three Byrne was extremely embarrassed and deeply ashamed of his actions, adding that he acceptd what he did was wrong.

She said his son’s bike had been stolen twice prior to the assault and this contributed to his anger on the day in question.

“He’s a family man, he’s very loyal to his wife, he is the sole provider for his young family as his wife is unwell,” she said.

Ms Frayne said Byrne’s actions were over the top, appalling and totally disproportionate.

The court heard his previous convictions were for road traffic matters.

Sentencing Byrne, Judge Cormac Quinn said that Mr Healy was lucky to have only received a fractured wrist in the attack.

“It was a reckless and dangerous act and is aggravated by the fact that the injured party was only 16 at the time,” he said.

Judge Quinn said he had to take into consideration the fact the defendant co-operated with gardai, was a young man and pleaded guilty.

He also noted that character references had been submitted by his employer, his wife and his wife’s GP.

“I also note the defendant has committed to voluntarily building houses for the homeless during his free time on Saturday,” Judge Quinn said.

He sentenced him to 18 months in prison and suspended the sentence in its entirety on the condition that Byrne attend and anger management course, address his alcohol problem and undertake “victim focused work”.

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