Man nearly blinded by punch over spilled drink

ONE punch had devastating consequences for a young man who was almost blinded in his right eye by the blow he suffered for accidentally spilling another man’s drink.

The injured party, Martin Kennedy, told Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday: “This incident has had a very serious impact on my life. I get depressed thinking about what I can do with the rest of my life because of this injury. I am only 27.”

The man who struck the blow, Patrick Shanahan, aged 26, of Ballinvoher, Kilworth, Co Cork, came before the court for sentencing yesterday. He previously admitted a charge of assault causing serious harm to Mr Kennedy on November 21, 2010, at Grocers’ nightclub, The Abbey Bar, Fermoy, Co Cork.

Shanahan said: “I am totally sorry for any harm I caused and for the loss of his sight. I just cannot say enough how sorry I am.”

Superintendent Michael Comyns said Mr Kennedy was dancing when he accidently knocked against Shanahan, spilling some of his drink. Shanahan res-ponded by hitting Mr Kennedy in the eye once.

“There is permanent and irreversible loss of sight in his right eye,” Supt Comyns said. “It’s not totally gone but it is very poor and there is no hope it will improve.”

He added: “He did not intend it, it was reckless the way that he lashed out.”

Shanahan was never in trouble before and brought €10,000 to court earlier this year to compensate the injured party and yesterday brought a further €7,500.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin put sentencing back for a year, indicating that a long jail sentence suspended in its entirety was envisaged but he wanted to see substantial compensation for Mr Kennedy.

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