Sydney court told of family 'hell' after vicious assault
THE sister of an Irishman left in a coma for 218 days after a vicious, unprovoked attack in Australia has spoken of her family's heartbreak at having to repeatedly explain to him what happened.
In a victim impact statement read out in a Sydney court yesterday, David Keohane's sister described the family's "hell" since the flooring contractor was left severely brain damaged and in a wheelchair.
Carol Keohane's statement was read during the sentencing hearing of one of the men convicted of attacking her brother on August 9, 2008.
Mr Keohane, who was beaten about the head roughly 14 times during the assault and left lying in the street, less than 100 metres from his home in Sydney, regained consciousness on St Patrick's Day 2009.
However, the 31-year-old suffered a seizure earlier this year and remains in hospital in Cork.
His sister, whose statement was read out by a friend in the District Court in New South Wales, said the family still hoped he would achieve some kind of quality of life, despite being faced with enormous challenges.
Judge Ronald Solomon heard Mr Keohane, who was then a permanent resident of Australia, had hoped to build a life for himself in Sydney, but all changed the day he was "left for dead at the side of the road".
Ms Keohane described the family's pain at having to see "such a fit and active young man travel back (to Cork) unconscious, with no control over his body and no awareness he was even leaving Australia".
She added: "Today, David cried as he asked us what happened to him. It broke our hearts to have to explain all over again that he was attacked by two strangers on a night out.
"We would not have survived these times that you could only describe as hell, without the support and prayers from people we didn't know."
Earlier yesterday, a man jailed for the attack told the court he had lied to police when implicating a friend in the violence.
Thomas Isaako, who was jailed for at least 14 years over Mr Keohane's attack and that of another man, was giving evidence at the sentence hearing of co-offender Kane Tupuolamoui.
"First of all, my statement was a lie. I'm sorry, your honour, I lied," Isaako said when asked to recount the events leading up to the attack.
"In my statement I said it was his idea. It wasn't. It was my idea.
"I said: 'Let's do this, let's roll someone'. I was the first to hit him and I was the only one who hit him. Kane didn't touch him at all."
Tupuolamoui (22) pleaded guilty in November to robbery in company and inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Keohane.
His sentencing hearing was adjourned to July 15.