Australian teen who put Irish tourist in coma is given suspended sentence
Published 09/05/2015 | 17:16
An Australian man who pleaded guilty to an attack as a teenager that left an Irish tourist in a coma has been handed a suspended sentence.
Kerry man Timothy McCarthy (45) was left with permanent brain damage after he was ‘sucker punched’ by Daniel Byrne in an unprovoked attack in 2011.
The then 18-year-old attacked the Irish man after Mr McCarthy approached the teen and his friends in Canberra in the early hours and began talking about an upcoming football match between Ireland and Australia.
After he was struck, Mr McCarthy was knocked unconscious after banging his head on the ground.
He was in a coma for more than a week following treatment for cerebral haemorrhaging.
On Thursday, a court in Canberra sentenced Mr Byrne, now 23, to 12 months in prison, starting from September 2014, but suspended it on the grounds that he keeps the peace for two years.
The trial came about after a court of appeal in 2014 overturned an earlier 3 and half year sentence handed down to Mr Byrne.
The then 21-year-old was found guilty at the ACT Supreme Court in 2013 and served a total of seven months in custody before successfully having his conviction overturned.
The prosecution then made a plea deal, seeing Mr Byrne pleading guilty to the lesser offence of causing grievous bodily harm.
During the first trial, CCTV footage was presented that showed Mr Byrne stepping back and punching Mr McCarthy in the head - causing him to fall to the ground and bang his head off the pavement.
According to the Canberra Times, Timothy McCarthy submitted a victim impact statement to the court, in which he said he still has frequent migraines as a result of the attack, and his heavy medication means he can not drive or work as a builder.
Justice Refshauge cited Mr McCarthy's victim impact statement while delivering his sentence but said that he had to take into account that “[Byrne has] excellent prospects of rehabilitation… having made good efforts to turn his life around and had stayed away from alcohol since the incident."
He told the 25-year-old he was "very lucky that Mr McCarthy didn't die.”