A 75-year-old man was pushed violently to the ground in an unprovoked attack in Cork city centre and today a homeless man with 12 previous assault convictions was jailed for it.
John Long, 31, of Cork Simon Community denied a single charge of assault causing harm on July 13, 2017 but after a trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict against him.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a two-year sentence backdated to March and with the last six months suspended.
Garda Paul Lynch reminded the judge of the background to the case and Judge Ó Donnabháin remarked:
In a fit of temper he pushed this man violently to the ground and the elderly man had fractures to his hand.
“Mr Long has a lack of insight into his offending. He had been subject to tantrums.
"He allows his frustrations to boil over. This was something that happened suddenly on the street when he assaulted this man.”
The judge remarked that Long had been homeless, effectively throughout his life and had some mental health difficulties.
The evidence from Garda Paul Lynch was that Long muttered something incoherent about elderly people and pushed the pensioner causing him to fall backwards on the street.
Garda Lynch said of Long, “He lives at Simon and he keeps to himself. Any time I encounter him he is on his own.”
Donal O’Sullivan, defence barrister, said Long was originally from Douglas and had problems with alcohol, particularly over the last ten years.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “He presents as an agitated person. It suggests there is more to it than just drink.”
The judge also said that the assault on the elderly man was a serious matter.