Student's leg broken in soccer assault, court hears
A FORMER postgraduate student told how his leg broke when he was assaulted by a lecturer during a friendly six-a-side soccer match.
A senior lecturer in French at the University of Limerick (UL), Frederic Royall (52), has pleaded guilty to assaulting Hooman Reyhani (43), causing him harm at the UL sports complex on August 3, 2007.
Mr Reyhani, who has a PhD in electronic engineering from the university, had previously refused a cheque for €10,000 from Mr Royall for compensation and an apology, as he claimed the gesture was not genuine.
Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday that the issue was going before the High Court in the form of a personal injury action.
Prosecuting on behalf of the State, John O'Sullivan said Mr Reyhani had undergone five operations since the incident during the soccer match.
A previous court hearing heard from Garda Mark McGauley, of Henry Street garda station, who said there were verbal exchanges between players over a number of tackles made during the match.
The incident, the officer said, happened during one argument near the end of the game.
"There was a verbal dispute regarding a tackle on another player and as the injured party turned away, suddenly, and without warning, Mr Royall lunged at him and punched him in the side of face," Gda McGauley stated.
Mr Reyhani fell after being hit and when he was taken to the Mid-Western Hospital after the game, it was discovered he had a broken leg.
Giving evidence before Judge Carroll Moran, Mr Reyhani said sport had been his hobby since childhood. He said he always tried to keep fit, active and healthy, and never smoked or drank.
As a result of his injuries, he said he had to hold the banister coming down stairs as his right leg was unstable.
He said his left knee had started to give pain and trouble because of the imbalance and weight on it. Early signs of arthritis have been found and he is also receiving pain relief injections.
Mr Reyhani said he had to wear an ankle brace 24 hours a day for six months to assist his recovery. If this fails, further surgery is planned.
Working in a consultancy capacity, the injured man said some of his work with companies in Cork, Dublin and Britain had suffered because of the pain experienced when driving.
"I want justice to be served here. It is long overdue. A medical doctor has said a double fracture of the leg comes from a fall of 20ft, not when you are walking on an astroturf pitch as a fit person," Mr Reyhani said.
The court heard that the personal injury legal proceedings in the High Court could take a year to conclude.
The former UL student has incurred large medical expenses and his final medical prognosis has not yet been arrived at.
Defence counsel Mark Nicholas said the lecturer had "conceded completely that this man suffered a terrible injury".
He said his client at all times expressed remorse for this and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
The judge said the sum of money offered to Mr Reyhani was "not adequate" and that he would await the outcome of the High Court proceedings before passing sentence. He said it was in the public interest of justice and the interest of the injured party that the criminal proceedings be concluded after the High Court matter.