Man apologised to stranger he had attacked in error

A Cork man who attacked a stranger in a case of mistaken identity apologised to the victim for getting the wrong man.

Donal Daly, defence solicitor, said during an appeal of a jail term that the accused had been on drugs at the time but has largely stayed out of trouble for the past three years.

Damien O’Brien, aged 44, from Cork City but now living at 34 St Colman’s Park, Macroom, Co Cork, appealed the five-month sentence for the assault.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin noted that the accused had attended for drug rehabilitation since this occurred.

The offence dated almost five years. The judge said that, in view of the passage of time and other factors, he would suspend the five-month sentence at Cork Circuit Appeals Court.

O’Brien previously stated: “I am disgusted. I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed. I would like to say please don’t judge the people of Cork on an idiot like me.”

That was the apology made at the original court hearing where he pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Jim Gunter at 1.40am on the day.

Garda Aoife Hayes said the case dated to February 18, 2012, when Mr Gunter walked from the South Mall to Morrison’s Island, Cork City.

O’Brien started attacking Mr Gunter. It lasted approximately one minute and stopped when O’Brien realised he was attacking the wrong man. O’Brien then apologised to him and ran away, leaving Mr Gunter with a broken nose and a deep cut across his nose which is still scarred. Garda Hayes said O’Brien ”mistook the injured party for a male who had threatened his girlfriend”.


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