An intermediate Cork hurler who spent two months remanded in prison for an assault on another man and a woman in Cork city centre was given a fully suspended two-year jail term.
Aaron Hannon of 10 Liam Healy Road, Fairhill, Cork, pleaded guilty last year at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of assault causing harm to a man and a woman at Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, on October 16, 2016.
The assault on the man was by far the more serious as he kicked the victim in the head when he was on the ground. The assault on the woman was less serious and was categorised as her being “caught in the crossfire". The defendant raised €4,000 for the injured man previously and added another €6,000 to that today.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin acknowledged the €10,000 compensation but said, “This was a nasty assault. I have no interest in how it began and what happened at the start. But it (the assault causing harm) can only be classified as a nasty assault. A cowardly act of kicking the man when he was down is a seriously aggravating factor.
“It would merit consideration of a custodial sentence. He has no previous convictions. He has kept himself correct since. He has garnered considerable compensation.” The judge then imposed a two-year sentence, fully suspended, on the assault causing harm to the man. For the assault on the woman he imposed a concurrent one-year suspended sentence.
Sergeant Kevin Joyce previously outlined evidence and Detective Sergeant Katrine Tansley reminded the judge of it. Sgt Joyce accepted that Hannon did not intend to hit the woman on the night and would have been unaware that he had done so.
Defence barrister, Donal O’Sullivan, said there was evidence that the male injured party head-butted Hannon and would not stop tackling him on the street having mistakenly believed that Hannon had assaulted a woman earlier. Mr O’Sullivan BL said there were witnesses in the book of evidence who gave this evidence in relation to the injured party. The defence barrister said Hannon accepted that he was guilty of assault causing harm.
Sgt Joyce said of the involvement of the injured party and the defendant in the lead-up to the assault by Hannon, “I would say it was 50-50.” Sgt Joyce said there were several interactions between the two men before the eventual assault by Hannon on the injured party. Hannon said the other man was blaming him in the wrong for an alleged assault on a woman earlier.
“Mr Hannon – in the space of one and a half minutes – assaulted the injured party and caused extensive injuries to his cheekbone and eye socket.
“A lady – the second injured party – happened to be standing in front of him. In the course of assaulting the man, Mr Hannon struck her once with his forearm and once with his knee, knocking the young lady to the ground. She was unconscious for a short period of time. I don’t think Mr Hannon was aware he assaulted her.”
Sergeant Joyce said Hannon played inter-county hurling at intermediate level.