Monday 5 December 2016

'Everyone is entitled to one mistake' - nightclub reveller whose unprovoked attacked left man with broken jaw avoids jail

Declan Brennan

Published 22/01/2016 | 16:37

Gary Doran leaving court yesterday Pic: Courtpix
Gary Doran leaving court yesterday Pic: Courtpix

A nightclub reveller whose unprovoked attack left the victim with head injuries and a broken jaw has avoided jail after a judge told him everybody was entitled to “one mistake”.

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Ajibola Ajala (22) of Hunter Place, Hunterwood, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Gary Doran at the Wright Venue nightclub in Swords on December 17, 2011.

Ajala rained punches down on Mr Doran after the victim ran to the assistance of his brother Ian during a violent attack in the nightclub.

Mr Doran told Judge Patrick McCartan that as a result of a fracture to his jaw caused by the assault he still suffered continuous discomfort and pain.

After examining images of the victim's bloody head injuries the judge told Ajala that he didn't accept the injuries were caused by a fist, as Ajala told gardaí.

He asked Patrick Jackson BL, defending: “How does your client explain how he inflicted these injuries? He managed to open his skull with a punch? Ah come on”.

Ajibola Ajala (22) leaving court yesterday
Pic: Courtpix
Ajibola Ajala (22) leaving court yesterday Pic: Courtpix

Judge McCartan told the victim that he couldn't put right the wrong done to the victim and that the court's options were limited.

He said Ajala had never been in trouble before and had come to Ireland from his native Nigeria at the age of 15, alone and in very difficult circumstances.

“This is the one mistake he has made. If I send him to prison now his life and prospects are gone. . I don't see any great value in putting him in prison,” he said.

He told Mr Doran that not jailing the Dublin father-of-two wasn't an indication that he didn't think it was a serious case.

Judge McCartan suspended a two year jail term on condition that he pay €5,000 over to the victim in the next six months. He said the money was a small gesture to the victim for the wrong done.

He told Ajala that if he failed to pay the money over in that time or got into trouble in the next two years he risked being jailed.

Garda Brian Reidy told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that Mr Doran were out celebrating a 21st birthday on the same night Ajala was out celebrating his own 18th birthday.

Ian Doran saw a group of four men “pulling and groping” at his cousin and went over to see if she was ok and asked her to join them.

The victim then saw his brother Ian being punched in the face by one of the black men. He ran over to separate his brother and as he arrived he was hit by Ajala.

A witness saw Ajala punching the victim in the face and getting him in a headlock. CCTV showed Ajala punching the victim to the head and face a number of times.

The victim had nine staples inserted into his skull. His jaw was fractured and the court heard he suffered chronic pain in his jaw and had had issues with his confidence levels and with anxiety since the assault.

Mr Doran told gardaí he blacked out during the assault and did not know how the head injuries were caused. The court heard there was “no reason whatsoever” for the attack.

Mr Jackson said there was no evidence his client was involved in any “groping” of Mr Doran's cousin and that he reacted after a drink had been thrown at him. Ajala told gardaí he didn't know who had thrown the drink.

Counsel said his client had a very difficult childhood and was a victim of very serious issues. He had never been in trouble here before and was trying to find employment.

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