Cian O’Brien of Cappagh, Kinsale, Co Cork, was given the benefit of the Probation Act after Bandon District Court yesterday heard he had not meant to assault his uncle, and that things had become heated after a verbal altercation between the pair.
The court heard O’Brien, 31, was pleading guilty to the minor assault on November 30 last when his uncle Ken O’Brien contacted gardaí in Kinsale to say he had been assaulted by his nephew.
Judge James McNulty heard O’Brien’s father and his uncle had not spoken for some time, but that when Mr O’Brien’s grandmother became terminally ill he had sought a reconciliation between the brothers.
O’Brien’s solicitor, Macaire McCauley Adams said her client had become upset at his grandmother’s illness and “wanted to make things better”.
He contacted his cousin and arranged to try and broker a reconciliation but, on visiting his uncle, there was a verbal altercation and “derogatory comments” were made, resulting in Mr O’Brien slapping his uncle in the face.
Ms McCauley Adams told the court O’Brien had some previous convictions, but none since 2008. He had worked at numerous jobs during a long stay in Australia and, more recently, had retrained as a personal fitness instructor and had secured a full-time job, as well as being involved in local fundraising efforts and designing a short course for applied leaving certificate students.
Judge McNulty said to the solicitor: “I am going to stop you there before your client is canonised.”
He accepted O’Brien did not set out to cause harm and had sought to act in “the role of peacemaker” and granted him a conditional discharge under the Probation Act, binding him to the peace for three years.