independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Man jailed for slashing the face of good Samaritan who came to his aid

A DUBLIN man has been jailed for two years after he slashed the face of an electrician after the victim had minutes earlier stopped two men beating him.

The victim, John Graham, who was left with a permanent and noticeable scar, had come to Gerard Allen’s (32) assistance after he spotted the father of one being beaten on the ground.

Allen got to his feet and in the confusion punched Mr Graham in the face before running away.

Garda Patrick Watson told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that Mr Graham pursued Allen for a short time before he returned to the pub he had been drinking in with friends.

Five minutes later Allen returned to the scene, carrying a broken bottle and swung it at Mr Graham hitting him on the side of his face.

Judge Patricia Ryan was handed in photos of the victim’s face taken immediately following the assault after she was warned by counsel that the images were “quite graphic”.

Allen of Melrose Avenue, Clondalkin, who had initially faced a more serious charge, pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in Clondalkin on June 26, 2010.

He has 19 previous convictions for road traffic, public order and drug offences that have all been dealt with in the District Court.

Mr Graham, a qualified electrician who works on oil rigs in Scotland, stated in a victim impact report that he was severly traumatised after the assault because he thought he had lost half of his cheek.

A medical report from the time of the assault stated that he needed 19 stiches to close the wound and would be left with permanent scarring. He was out of work for four weeks.

He has since had plastic surgery but a medical report from last month confirmed that the scar to his cheek is permanent.

Mr Graham, who was not in court, also stated in his victim impact report that he is “very self conscious” of his scar because he is afraid people will consider him a violent person.

He said he used to enjoy socialising and meeting new people but this level of confidence has gone and he is now shy and paranoid about what people think of him.

Mr Graham concluded his report by saying he could get more plastic surgery but it is expensive and would require more time off work.

Gda Watson said Allen was nominated as a suspect after gardaí viewed CCTV footage of the assault and were given descriptions from eye-witnesses.

He later made a statement to gardaí during which he claimed that the victim had pursued him down the street and he had grabbed a bottle, broken it and hit him with it. He claimed it had been self defence.

Gda Watson told Mr Collins that the CCTV footage and accounts from Mr Graham, his friend and a nearby security guard contested Allen’s claims.

Brian Storan BL, defending, said his client, who is full-time carer for his toddler son while the child’s mother is at work, had €2,000 in court as an expression of his remorse.

He also handed in a letter of apology addressed to Mr Graham and letters from a number of people in Allen’s local community who spoke of how he has helped them when they needed it.

Mr Storan said the State accepts that Allen’s first punch was delivered in a state of confusion but his client accepts that the bottle attack was unreasonable.

He said there was nothing in his client’s history or previous convictions to indicate that he has been “violently causing difficulties in the local area”.

Judge Ryan said she had carefully considered all aspects of the case and took into consideration Allen’s expression of remorse.

She imposed a three year sentence with the final year suspended for three years and ordered that Allen engage with the Probation Services post release.

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