A stag party from Co Clare turned sour when one of the visitors to Cork City — an off-duty garda — was knocked unconscious in an unprovoked attack.
Describing it as a vicious, unprovoked assault on an innocent party, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin yesterday gave the culprit a suspended 18-month jail term.
“This man was rendered unconscious and was left with an injury to his face,” said the judge. “He required surgical intervention initially and he had a bad time as a result. He is genuinely upset and wonders why you [the accused] don’t go to jail. He believed if he did it, he would go to jail,”
Emmet Boyle, defending, said the accused was never in trouble before and had raised a total of €8,500 compensation for the injured party.
The assault was by a single punch.
Detective Sergeant Shane Bergin charged James McCarthy, aged 33, of 154 Mount Agnes Rd, Cork, with assault causing harm to Shane O’Connor at Soho on Grand Parade on June 17, 2018. The accused man pleaded guilty to that charge.
Det Sgt Bergin testified that the incident happened at 1.45am on the day in question last June, when the parties were all sitting in a booth at the premises.
They were on opposite sides of the booth and one of the injured party’s friends got into some exchange of words with the defendant. McCarthy took exception to what this man said, according to the detective.
The off-duty garda had nothing to do with the exchange of words, but as it escalated, he intervened to calm the situation down.
“Mr McCarthy misread the situation and punched him in the face. He fell to the floor, rendered unconscious by the punch,” said Det Sgt Bergin.
Mr McCarthy required six stitches to a facial wound and was left with a scar.
The defendant left the premises after the assault but the incident was seen by CCTV camera, as well as a number of witnesses.
“I managed to identify him and track him down. He was contacted and came to the station. After legal advice, he made admissions and admitted assaulting Mr O’Connor,” the detective said.
The victim impact statement was not read out, but Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said after reading it: “He describes his dismay at what happened. As far as he was concerned, there was no aggro and there was no lead-in.
"He woke in hospital to be told you might have a bleed on the brain and plastics will be along later for a scar on your face. This was a completely unprovoked assault.”