Saturday 21 October 2017

Man who punched pensioner off bicycle had 60 previous convictions

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Fiona Ferguson and Conor Gallagher

A Zimbabwean man suffering from schizophrenia who punched a passing pensioner off his bicycle has been jailed for two years.

Ruzmond Muwaniri (27) was also sentenced for a separate assault for punching a man in the face and smashing his teeth because he mistakenly believed the victim was racially abusing him.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he had missed several appointments to have his medication injected around the time of the assaults.

Muwaniri, of John McCormack Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the two men at separate locations on March 9, 2015 and on May 21, 2015.

Judge Melanie Greally imposed a total sentence of three and a half years but said she was willing to suspended a substantial portion if Muwaniri agreed to keep receiving psychiatric treatment while in prison. She suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he attends all appointments with prison doctors and that he stays away from non-prescribed medication.

Muwaniri has 60 previous convictions including several for assault. In 2013 he was jailed for two years for severely beating his then partner and throwing an electric heater at her.

Defence counsel, Pieter Le Vert BL, told the court that at some point after serving the sentence ultimately imposed for these offences, Muwaniri would have to be returned to the community and there would need to be multi-disciplinary supports in place.

Garda Dolores Walsh told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that the 67-year-old pensioner was out for a cycle with his dog and was travelling along Cheeverstown Road in Tallaght when he was punched by Muwaniri, who was crossing the road.

The man was knocked off his bicycle and lost consciousness. He was assisted by a passer-by and later woke up in hospital where he was treated for a broken eye socket as well as cuts and bruises.

Muwaniri ran to the nearby Cheeverstown Luas Stop where he went into some bushes and retrieved a stick. He was seen pacing up and down the platform for about five minutes until the tram arrived. He then got on the tram, leaving the stick behind on the platform.

Muwaniri was identified on CCTV footage and came to Tallaght garda station for interview. He told gardai on viewing the CCTV footage: “It looks like me but it's not me.”

Gda Walsh agreed with Mr Le Vert that Muwaniri stayed on the Luas for about 10 to 15 minutes after the assault and during that time he “stares straight ahead.” She agreed that around this time Muwaniri had missed some appointments for his medication to be injected.

She agreed he told gardai that he didn't remember anything and said he would not have done anything like that. He told gardai he felt bad looking at pictures of the man's injuries.

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