Richard Eso, aged 47, had pleaded guilty to causing serious harm, contrary to Section 4 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, to Jonathan Aherne on April 11, 2015 at Cahernane House Hotel, Muckross Rd, Killarney.
Eso also pleaded guilty to the production of a weapon, namely a bottle, on the occasion, his sentencing hearing was told at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee on Tuesday. Nigerian citizen Mr Eso, of Geraldine Road, London, and his wife Rachel, originally from Co Wexford, live in Britain. They were guests at a wedding in Killarney and Mr Eso first met Mr Aherne, the best man, the previous day for drinks in Cork.
The reception went on into the early hours of the morning and the guests retired to the residents’ bar when “the accused’s wife started to kiss the best man, Mr Aherne,” said Tom Rice, prosecutor, calling the evidence.
Mr Eso became “extremely angry and upset when he saw this and there followed violent scenes in the hotel”, Garda Michael Milner of Killarney gardaí agreed with Mr Rice.
Initially, the violence was directed towards his wife, Rachel, who was with him in court yesterday. However, he then obtained a wine bottle, which had been used in the wedding celebrations, broke the bottle, and pursued Mr Aherne into the kitchen area of the hotel, where he inflicted significant injuries to the face and forehead of Mr Aherne, the court heard.
A night porter witnessed the incident and was able to give clear details to gardaí.
“Mr Aherne was totally blameless, “ Garda Milner agreed with Mr Rice.
He was treated at Kerry General Hospital and subsequently at Cork University Hospital. He suffered deep lacerations to his forehead extending to his front scalp, and injuries to his cheek.
“Notwithstanding plastic surgery and other treatment, he will be left with permanent scarring,” the court was told. Judge John Hannon viewed his scars yesterday. Mr Rice said what had happened was “disfigurement” and said it came within the definition of serious harm and the DPP had assessed “the headline sentence” to be between four and seven and a half years, before mitigating factors.
Mr Eso’s wife was also injured but not seriously.
Garda Milner also told the court that Mr Aherne, from Cork originally, and who was in court with his solicitor Mr Eoin Brosnan of Killarney, was happy to move on with his life when an offer of compensation was paid over.
He did not want the offender to go to jail. The garda agreed with Anthony Sammon, SC for Mr Eso, that he had been extremely contrite. Garda Milner said he was one of the most co-operative of accused he had ever encountered, returning from the UK twice to meet gardaí.
Mr Sammon, said his client was “deeply devoted” to his wife. When she approached Mr Aherne, and kissed him, Mr Eso “lost it” and “the green-eyed monster” kicked in, the senior counsel told Judge Hannon.
“He did what he did in an inebriated and jealous state,” Mr Sammon said. He had no previous convictions in Britain or Ireland, is a Nigerian citizen, and has lived in Britain for 10 years.
Judge Hannon adjourned sentence, saying the matter was serious and it had some unusual features. A date is to be fixed next week.