A 25-year-old Castleisland man, Sean Lane, has been given a nine-year jail sentence for “a brutal and savage” assault with a baseball bat which left a 27-year-old man with life-changing injuries.
The assault occurred on January 14 at St Stephen’s Park, Castleisland, Co Kerry and went way beyond self-defence, the court was told.
A jail sentence of three years for a further of production of a baseball bat to beat victim Eamon Sheehy will run concurrently.
A second man, Jason Broderick, now 21, was sentenced to three years with one year suspended for the single count of possession of the weapon, a baseball bat, involved in the attack.
The pair had pleaded not guilty but, at the end of a four-week trial in July with evidence from 40 witnesses, the jury returned unanimous verdicts of guilty in the case of both men.
Lane, of An Caislean Mor, Castleisland, was unanimously found guilty of assault causing serious harm to Mr Sheehy and he was also found guilty of producing a weapon, a baseball bat.
Jason Broderick, also known as Jason Keane-Broderick, aged 21, of St John’s Park, Castleisland, was found guilty of possession of an article, namely a baseball bat, capable of causing intimidation or injury, arising from the same incident.
Judge O’Donnell today commended the “in depth” investigation by gardaí in Castleisland and Tralee as well as local businesses for handing over CCTV footage.
The footage supplied by businesses captured Broderick roaming the streets with the baseball bat, and it also captured Lane and Broderick throwing stones at Mr Sheehy’s window.
The judge said there had been “a brutal, savage and sustained attack” on Mr Sheehy.
When arrested, Lane told gardaí Mr Sheehy had come after him with a golf club and he had had to protect himself.
It was accepted Lane grabbed the baseball bat in self-defence but the attack went way beyond self defence, the judge said.
Mr Sheehy had been a carer for his grandfather but had been left with catastrophic injuries and would need lifelong care himself and that was a “poignant” aspect of the case, Judge O’Donnell remarked.
Paramedics who attended the scene had been unable to tell whether the injured person lying on the road was male or female, such was the extent of injuries to Mr Sheehy’s face and head.
Neighbours alerted by groaning noises did not recognize him, the judge recalled.
“Violence of this nature cannot be tolerated in a civil society,” Judge O’Donnell said.
Taking into account mitigating factors and a probation report, Judge O’Donnell handed down nine years.
The sentence was backdated to take into account the 12 months Lane had been in custody since his arrest.
The baseball bat was never recovered.
Last November, at the first part of the sentencing hearing, Mr Sheehy’s mother Marguerite Sheehy read a victim impact statement in which she said that she only recognised her son from a tattoo and his whole body was “purple”.
Her son had been a full-time carer for her father, who had MS, and while in the hospital had been worried about his grandfather, who had since passed away.
The life of her handsome, energetic, full of life son had been replaced with “a dull, depressing existence with life-changing injuries through no fault of his own,” she said.
His sight is affected, walking unaided is dangerous. He needs assistance for everyday tasks and suffers excruciating headaches.
"As a mother, I worry about his future and how all of this will affect him long-term physically."
However as a family, they thanked God for sparing Eamon’s life, she also said.