Friday 24 March 2017

College student who knocked man unconscious and kicked him in the head in taxi row ordered to carry out community service

Mr Justice Raymond Fullam was satisfied the woman had exaggerated her symptoms and their connection with the accident. Stock picture (Stock picture)
Mr Justice Raymond Fullam was satisfied the woman had exaggerated her symptoms and their connection with the accident. Stock picture (Stock picture)

Isabel Hayes and Sonya McLean

A college student who knocked a man unconscious and kicked him in the head during a row over a taxi outside a Dublin nightclub has been ordered to carry out community service.

Adam McCarthy (24) with an address in Howth Road, Raheny, Dublin pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Niall McHale at the White Sands Hotel in Portmarnock on December 27, 2014.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard at a sentence hearing last November that Mr McHale had come home to Dublin from London, where is currently living, to visit family and friends for the Christmas holidays.

On the night of the incident, he was out socialising with friends in the nightclub attached to the hotel in Portmarnock and left around 2.15am.

He and his friends were waiting on a taxi when another group of men “ran out from the nightclub and jumped the queue”, getting into a taxi, Garda Thomas Halligan told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting.

When Mr McHale approached McCarthy to protest that it was not their taxi, McCarthy turned and punched him “before Mr McHale had even finished his sentence”, Mr McGillicuddy said.

McCarthy hit Mr McHale above the right eye and he fell to the ground. He then kicked him in the head.

Mr McHale suffered a brief loss of consciousness before being taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital. He received seven stitches to the head, as well as bruising and lacerations. McCarthy was restrained by nightclub bouncers until gardaí arrived.

In a brief victim impact statement read out in court, Mr McHale said he was housebound for most of the Christmas holidays in the wake of the assault.

The court heard Mr McHale is still in London, but has requested that €5,000 which McCarthy had in court today go to Headway Ireland, which Judge Melanie Greally said would support people with head injuries who had not been as fortunate as the victim.

She commented at the earlier sentence hearing that a kick to the head can have fatal consequences. The fact that Mr McHale did not suffer a serious injury was “through no restraint on your part”, she told McCarthy.

“The incident which has come before the court is yet another another incident where a young person is out for the night socialising when a slight provocation, if you can even call it that... provokes an act of extreme violence,” the judge said.

Today, Judge Greally considered a probation report before the court that concluded that McCarthy was suitable for community service. She ordered that 240 hours be carried out in 12 months in lieu of a one year jail term.

The judge said it was “fortunate for both men that the consequences of McCarthy's violent and reckless actions were not overly severe”.

She accepted that McCarthy came from a respectable background, had taken steps to curb his drinking, had completed an anger management course and had expressed appropriate insight into the “actual and potential consequences” of his behaviour.

Brian Storan BL, defending, said McCarthy's reaction to his actions that night “has been one of shame and genuine remorse”. He said McCarthy was two years into a four-year degree at DIT and his ability to achieve was described as “unparalleled” by former educators.

In a letter handed up to court, McCarthy “profusely” apologised to Mr McHale and his family for the “lack of respect” he had shown and the pain he had caused them.

“There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of this act and the consequences it has brought,” the letter said.

Mr Storan said his client had saved €3500 and borrowed a further €1500 from his parents to give to Mr McHale as a token of his remorse.

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