A teenager bit a chunk of flesh out of the cheek of a 37-year-old man during a fight in Cork City.
John Horgan, of 5 Foxford Avenue, Melbourne, Bishopstown, Cork, pleaded guilty, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, to a charge of assault causing harm. He received a two-year suspended jail term.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said to Horgan: “Clearly both of you knew each other before this incident. Clearly there were circumstances between you both which resulted in the injured party attacking you and you fighting back, but doing so on a totally disproportionate level by biting and causing that injury.
“He has moved away from Cork. Every time he looks in the mirror he remembers this incident.
“The injured party was also the initial aggressor and it was quite fairly pointed out by the State that this was self-defence gone wrong, gone over the top.”
The judge imposed a two-year sentence suspended on condition that Horgan stay away from the injured party.
Garda Louise Kingston said the assault occurred shortly before 3am on Cornmarket St, Cork, on March 18, 2017. A chunk of skin was bitten from the right cheek of the injured party and the missing piece of skin was not found at the scene despite efforts made by gardaí. The 30mm x 25mm wound required a skin graft which was successful but left a circular scar.
Horgan called to Bridewell Garda Station on March 27, 2017, and admitted the assault. He volunteered to hand over his passport to gardaí while the case was before the courts. He said in his statement that he had felt bullied by the injured party for eight months before this assault.
Garda Kingston said CCTV showed Horgan with his fists up in a fighting stance and that the injured party first punched Horgan and then they got into a headlock-type fight during which the victim was bitten on the cheek.
The injured party said in a written victim impact report that the assault left him and his family stressed and anxious. He was out of work for six weeks and because he faces the public in his work, he has become acutely conscious of the scar and said he was often asked what had happened to him.
He said he no longer felt safe in Cork and had left the country to live elsewhere. He said he repeatedly relived the circumstances of that night.
Sinead Behan, defending, said Horgan, aged 21, was only 19 at the time. She said the parties had been known to each other for a couple of years but that there was no contact between them until the incident. He brought €2,000 compensation to court as a gesture of remorse.
“He has gone through his own personal hell,” she said.
Ray Boland, prosecuting, said the State accepted that Horgan’s actions could be viewed as disproportionate self-defence.
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