Wexford man's appeal against conviction is dismissed

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a Stable-hand against his conviction for an assault that left a publican in a wheelchair.

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a Stable-hand against his conviction for an assault that left a publican in a wheelchair.

Kieran Roche (aged 27) of Main Street, Taghmon, Co Wexford, was found guilty of causing serious harm to Andreas Ryan (aged 44) on December 6, 2003, by Wexford Circuit Criminal Court in January 2006.

The court was told that as a result of being kicked in the head by Roche Mr Ryan was left in a wheelchair, unable to speak, and only able communicate to others using symbols and sheets.

Roche, who said that he was attacked by Ryan after returning from a party, was later sentenced to seven years in prison by Judge Michael O'Shea.

Today the three Judge CCA consisting of Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan presiding, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie and Mr Justice Eamon De Valera dismissed Roche's appeal against his conviction.

Moving the appeal Roche's Counsel Mr John Peart SC said that Roche's conviction was unsatisfactory and that a re-trial should be ordered.

Counsel said that the central point of the appeal was that the trial judge had erred by not making reference in his charge to the jury that they should have looked at Roche's actions that night "from the point of view of a man who was drunk." However the judge had failed to do this.

Counsel the night in question Roche was an "innocent drunk" who was assaulted by Ryan. Counsel told the court there was no pre-meditation involved in the incident.

Roche, he said, was attacked by Andreas Ryan. When Ryan was on the ground, counsel added, that Ryan told Roche that he "was going to kill" his client.

Other grounds of appeal included media coverage of the trial, that evidence given by a forensic scientist from the State laboratory was unsatisfactory.

Opposing the appeal counsel for the DPP Mr Michael Delaney BL said that the conviction should be not be interfered with.

Counsel said that Roche had kicked Mr Ryan on the head while he was on the ground, and that there was some dispute during the trial as to the degree in which Roche was drunk on the night.

In dismissing the appeal Mr Justice Geoghegan said that in this case the trial judge's charge to the jury was "impeccable," and without defect.

The court was satisfied that in this case the conviction should remain intact.

Mr Justice Geoghegan also said that the court was dismissing all other grounds of the appeal, as they had "no substance" either on their own or cumulatively.

In January 2006 Wexford Circuit Court heard that as a result of the attack Mr Ryan cannot speak. The incident occurred after Roche returned to Taghmon after attending a birthday Party in Ballinaboola, New Ross.

However Roche encountered Andreas Ryan outside Mr Ryan's licensed premises in the village.

Evidence was given that Mr Ryan struck out at Roche, with the accused striking back, resulting in the publican falling to the ground.

Following the assault Mr Ryan was removed to Wexford General Hospital and later to Beaumont Hospital.

Mr Ryan sustained severe bruising to brain tissue which resulted in him spending 23 days in Beaumont, and will be unable to maintain an independent standard of living for the remainder of his life.

The court heard that Roche was a promising jockey until he became too heavy weight-wise and had a number of previous convictions.

Roche also apologised to Mr Ryan and his family for the suffering and pain caused to them.

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