€30k compo sees attackers avoid jail

Two Limerick men, whose assault on a Cork financial adviser left him in a coma and fighting for his life, walked free from court yesterday after paying €30,000 compensation.

€30k compo sees attackers avoid jail

Alan O’Sullivan and Eddie Shine, both from Ballyine, Old Mill, Newcastle West, each received four-year suspended sentences at Limerick Circuit Court.

They had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing serious harm to Tomas Twomey, aged 27, of Old Cork Rd, Mallow.

Mr Twomey sustained multiple brain injuries and a fractured skull after being subjected to a flurry of blows in an unprovoked attack outside a fast-food outlet in Newcastle West.

In July, the court heard that O’Sullivan, a 21-year-old student at Limerick Institute of Technology, and Shine had offered €10,000 each as compensation.

Judge Carroll Moran said a sum of €20,000 was more appropriate for O’Sullivan to pay, as he was the main aggressor.

The judge had said jail sentences would jeopardise the future careers of both O’Sullivan and Shine.

The court heard yesterday Mr Twomey had left Ireland to spend a year in Australia. Bank drafts totalling €30,000 had been transferred to him in August.

Mr Twomey had been in a coma in hospitals in Limerick and Cork after the attack and still suffers from the injuries. His family had been told he might not come out of the coma.

Sergeant Helena Carey had told the court she was on duty with Detective Garda Jerry O’Sullivan in an unmarked patrol car at around 2.45am on March 10, 2012, when they saw a group outside the Superbites outlet in Newcastle West.

She saw one man assaulted by another, and heard a thud as his head hit the footpath.

Going to his assistance, she found him to be unconscious and put him in the recovery position.

Det Garda O’Sullivan arrested the man they saw deliver the blow — O’Sullivan, the son of a primary school teacher.

Shine, who the court was told came from a farming background, was later arrested.

Sgt Carey said Mr Twomey had gone into Superbites with his girlfriend. While there, a group of men came in and sat near them.

They began to pass disparaging remarks about Mr Twomey’s girlfriend’s weight and threw chips at her. She threw chips back and then a carton of chips. She was asked to leave and went outside with Mr Twomey. O’Sullivan approached them and poured a can of fizzy drink over her.

Mr Twomey did not react or engage with O’Sullivan and, in an unprovoked attack, a flurry of up to 11 punches were thrown at him. The court heard it was accepted that O’Sullivan was the main aggressor.

When arrested, O’Sullivan initially claimed he hit Mr Twomey in self-defence. When gardaí showed him CCTV footage of the attack, he made admissions.

Shine, when first interviewed, denied any involvement, until shown the CCTV and then admitted he struck Mr Twomey.

O’Sullivan and Shine were also bound to the peace for four years.

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