Saturday 3 December 2016

Man (24) jailed after smashing a bottle of beer over a Luas passenger's head

Fiona Ferguson

Published 04/11/2016 | 14:46

Luas (stock image)
Luas (stock image)

A man who took part in a violent assault on a Luas passenger has been jailed for four years with the final two years suspended.

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Aaron Collins (24) swiped the victim with a bottle of beer, making contact with his eye, and later smashed the bottle downwards on the head of the dazed man who had earlier been assaulted by his two co-accused.

Collins, of Elmdale Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder, assault causing harm to Noel O'Rourke  and producing a bottle of Budweiser in the course of a fight on an outbound Luas red line between the Smithfield and Museum stops on December 11, 2014.

Two co-accused Aoife Molloy (24) and Martin O'Connor (25) received partially suspended four year sentences from Judge James O'Donohue in January last. Molloy had the final 18 months suspended and O'Connor had the final two years suspended. Molloy's sentence was later reduced to four years with the final two years suspended on appeal, the court heard today.

The victim, Noel O'Rourke (46), had fallen to the ground when the Luas jolted and was kicked by Molloy as he tried to get up. Molloy and O'Connor claimed they “snapped” when their victim then “retaliated”

The court heard Collins believed his two friends were being assaulted and became involved in the violence in a “misguided act of chivalry.”

Mr O'Rourke suffered a fractured eye socket as well as wounds to his scalp and lip. He was in court for the sentence.

Judge Patricia Ryan said the victim still suffered an “enormous amount of pain”. “It was a very frightening experience for a person on his own who was faced with three antagonists,” she said.

The court heard Collins has 36 previous convictions, but none for violence. He is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence for a drug offence.

Ann Sheridan BL, defending, said it was Collins' view that his friends had been assaulted. She said that as he had alcohol on board the decision-making process was blurred. She said he did not arm himself but already had the bottle in his hand.

Counsel said she had been instructed to apologise to the victim and that Collins had written a letter of apology. She said Collins did not realise the extent of the assault when he left the Luas.

Ms Sheridan said Collins was effectively homeless at the time and had been drinking on the streets.

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