Four men who attacked students await sentence

Four south-city Dublin men who attacked students on Halloween Night 2006 will be sentenced later by Judge Tony Hunt at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Two walking through Templeogue on Halloween night two years ago were attacked by five drunk youths, has heard.

Killian Ryan (aged 20) of Manor Rise, Rathfarnham and Shane Cunningham (aged 21) of 27, Ailesbury Grove, Dundrum pleaded guilty to assault causing harm on postgraduate students, Mr Aidan McMannamon and Mr Donnchadh Woulfe, on November 1, 2006 at Springfield Avenue in Templeogue.

Robert Kennedy (aged 21) of Sweetmount Avenue, Dundrum and Paddy Swendell (aged 21) of Braemor Rd, Churchtown pleaded guilty to assaulting both men as well as threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour. A fifth accused person is being dealt with in the juvenile court system.

Detective garda Gabriel Duffy told prosecuting counsel, Mr Garreth Baker BL, that unemployed plasterer Swendell’s five previous convictions included possession of firearms and possession of drugs for sale or supply

Det garda Duffy said the defendants followed the two victims from Rathmines to Templeogue before Ryan and another youth attacked Mr McMannamon who received "constant punches to the head and face" resulting in one of his front teeth being knocked out.

Det garda Duffy said Mr McMannamon managed to spit it into his hand and put it in his pocket.

Mr Woulfe, a trainee barrister at the time, was trying to defend his friend when more attackers arrived and assaulted him. At one stage, four people were kicking and punching him.

Det garda Duffy said the attack continued up the street until Mr Woulfe stopped a taxi and the driver called the gardaí. The victims were taken around the area in an unmarked patrol car and Ryan was identified and arrested. The others later made voluntary statements.

The two students were taken to Tallaght Hospital where Mr McMannamon was told it would be a year before surgery could repair his tooth. He was due to be an usher at his sister’s wedding two days later but had not recovered physically or mentally in time. His total economic loss was €15,000.

Det garda Duffy said Mr McMannamon had written in a statement: "Nobody in any civilised society should be able to do that to another person."

Mr Woulfe sustained a broken nose and two black eyes and suffered headaches and difficulty sleeping for a long time afterwards. The quick apprehension of the attackers helped his recovery.

Mr Remy Farrell BL, defending Ryan, said his client, a corporal in the army reserve, had "great difficulty remembering details of the offence" and had brought €5,000 which counsel said allowed the court "the option of not going down the custodial road".

Cunningham’s counsel, Mr Philip Rahn BL, said his client had brought €5,000 to court "in the context of the remorse he feels" and he had curtailed his alcohol consumption.

"Within 10 days of the offence, due to the shock of his own behaviour, he sought counselling," said Mr Rahn. "He plays football now, with training two nights a week and matches on a Saturday."

Mr Ronan Kennedy BL, for trainee electrician Kennedy said he had brought €2,000 to court. "He wishes to put that forward as a concrete expression of his remorse, no strings attached."

Mr Michael Bowman BL, for Swendell, said his client’s behaviour since the offence was "in marked contrast" with that night and he had successfully dealt with his drug problem..

"In the past, he was using €500 to €600 of drugs weekly. A custodial sentence might retard any personal development he has achieved."

Mr Baker said that neither victim wanted compensation as a result of the criminal proceedings.

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