A homeless deaf mute man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for killing an acquaintance by knocking him under a bus in Dublin on December 2012.
On handing down the sentence, Judge Patrick McCartan commented that he had no choice but to imprison Edward Connors (30) as he was a "serious danger to society".
A Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury previously found Connors guilty following an eight-day manslaughter trial. Connors had pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Eoghan Dudley (28) on December 6, 2012.
Mr Dudley died almost instantly from “catastrophic and traumatic injuries” after going under the left rear wheel of the bus on Dawson Street during rush hour traffic on December 6, 2012.
Judge McCartan previously requested Connors be assessed for rehabilitation services in the UK. The court had heard that there are no specific rehabilitation services for deaf people in Ireland.
Ronan Kennedy BL, for the DPP, told Judge McCartan that rehabilitation services for deaf people in Ireland would not be put in place by the Government until 2016.
On handing down the sentence, Judge McCartan commented that Connors "cannot but be described as a victim" in this case, as he was deaf since childhood and grew up in an environment where there was no opportunity for learning of any sort, leaving him with severe communication difficulties.
He also commented that Connors was at serious risk of reoffending as the 30-year-old’s past is peppered with "acts of aggression, violence and a single significant loss of life".
Connors, of no fixed abode and formerly of Bearna Park, Sandyford, admitted interacting with the deceased but claimed that what looked like a punch on CCTV footage is actually him trying to grab Mr Dudley to stop him falling off the path and going under the bus.
Connors also previously pleaded guilty to two counts of using a syringe to cause injury or threaten to cause injury at Balally Shopping Centre, Sandyford on May 17, 2012 and at Lotts Lane on August 18, 2012. Judge McCartan sentenced him to two years, to run concurrently, on each of these counts.
Previously Dr Brendan Thomas Monteiro, Consultant Psychiatrist in the field of Mental Health and Deafness, said that there is a facility in the UK suitable to treat Connors. Judge McCartan ordered a further assessment to establish if Connors is a suitable candidate for this facility.
Defence Counsel, Oisin Clarke BL, later told Judge McCartan that Connors was unable to be assessed for treatment in the UK due to legal issues and that funding from the State was not available for his rehabilitation.
Dr Monteiro said that if Connors does not get the treatment he needs he will revert to his old ways of living after he serves a prison sentence.
Dr Monteiro described Connor’s primitive approach to life combined with a reliance on heroin as “truly explosive” and that it was one such explosion which led to the death of Mr Dudley.
He said that Connors exhibited features of a primitive personality caused by his hearing problems.
This is a psychiatric diagnosis which identifies deaf people who were effectively without any usable language, as a result of which they become quite primitive in their behaviour, Dr Monteiro said.
He said that because of serious communication difficulties between them and parents, teachers or peers, this group of people do not acquire the same skills taken for granted in hearing children and develop without any social, moral or legal boundaries.
“His knowledge and understanding and ability to relate to others was seriously compromised” because of the deprivation of language, Dr Monteiro said.
He agreed with Mr Kennedy since the trial Connors has refused to accept the guilty verdict, and maintains he is not responsible for the death of the victim and is unfairly in prison.