Unusually, the assault was prosecuted on the basis of what Detective Garda Niall Hayes witnessed and in the absence of a complaint from the injured party.
Gary Sheehan, aged 25, of 64 Hazel Rd, Togher, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm and producing a scissors during the assault.
Among Sheehan’s 152 previous convictions, he had three for having drugs for sale or supply. Det Garda Hayes said the violence arose out a row over a quantity of prescription tablets.
Judge David Riordan jailed Sheehan for 18 months. He imposed a sentence of two and a half years and suspended the last year of the sentence.
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The judge said that it often occurred that assaults, within for instance a community of drug users, would never come to the attention of officialdom and it probably would not have done so here either if it hadn’t been observed by the detective.
Det Garda Hayes said that, at 12.30pm on December 11, 2013, he was off-duty and driving on Victoria Rd towards the roundabout with Centre Park Rd. “I observed a gathering of people on the roundabout,” he told the court. “One of them was Gary Sheehan and another was the injured party. He was struck in the face and knocked out in front of traffic. The altercation proceeded close to my car.
“I observed Gary Sheehan produce a scissors and attempt to stab him around the head and neck area.
“It lasted about a minute. The injured party tried to fend off the attack. He broke free. Gary Sheehan chased him down the road.”
Sheehan was subsequently arrested and made the excuse that his prescription tablets had been taken from him. He failed to co-operate with the investigation by not answering an questions put to him.
Defence barrister Brian Leahy said Sheehan had a heroin addiction for which he was now on a methadone treatment programme.
Judge Riordan said it was a serious crime but noted that “he did plead early and saved the State some effort”.
“I note that he is a person with an established heroin addiction,” said the judge. “He has made efforts to come off this. He is being stabilised on methadone at the moment.
“He has been before the court at least 100 times and this is the first time he has indicated he is trying to come off drugs.”