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'This is what you've done to me... This is what you ran away from' - Accountant confronts vet who glassed him in cocktail bar

Conor Gallagher

Published 21/10/2016 | 18:32

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

An Offaly veterinarian who glassed an accountant in a city centre cocktail bar, leaving him with lifelong scarring, has been confronted by his victim in court.

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Mark Relihan had just finished reading out an emotional victim impact statement in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when he turned to his attacker, held up a picture of his extensive facial injuries and said: “This is what you've done to me. You see this? This is what you ran away from.”

His attacker Stephen McGrath (25) showed no reaction. He was in Dublin while on a trip home from Wales where he works in a veterinary practice treating farm animals.

Judge Petria McDonnell adjourned the case until December 16, 2016 for a probation report and asked that the possibility of community service be examined. She had originally suggested sentencing him on December 21 but McGrath, through his counsel, said this caused him work difficulties.

McGrath of Carmarthen in Wales, but originally from Tullamore, Co Offaly, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing harm on September 6, 2015 in No Name Bar on Fade Street, Dublin.

Mr Relihan told the court his life had been impacted forever by the “unprovoked, cruel, inhumane act”. He has already had some plastic surgery and said he would likely require more. He said he may have to have fat extracted from his torso to fill in a cavity in his face which was caused by the attack.

Judge McDonnell told the victim the cavity looks more like a dimple but said she understands the effect it had on him.

The victim, who works in an accountancy firm, said his professional reputation was left in “tatters” following the attack due to his facial scarring. He said he was a different person mentally and physically and sometimes had to leave social situations due to anxiety.

“I need to see he pays a price for his actions so I can move on,” Mr Relihan said. “I wonder how many people have to end up injured and even dead for this to be taken seriously.”

Garda Barry Keegan told prosecuting counsel, Monika Leech BL, that McGrath was in the bar with a large group of trainee and newly-qualified vets.

McGrath confronted Mr Relihan in a row over whether there was enough space on a bench they were both sitting on. McGrath said he would give Mr Relihan ten seconds to move and began counting down.

Mr Relihan looked at his friends and said “Is this guy for real?” before McGrath smashed a glass into his face. Fragments from the glass also hit another man, Shane O'Riordan, who was standing nearby.

Mr Relihan was taken to hospital where he required 17 stitches to his face. Mr O'Riordan suffered minor cuts and was treated at the scene.

McGrath left the area but was identified by Gda Keegan. When the garda contacted him that weekend, McGrath said he was in Tullamore watching a hurling match. The garda went to Tullamore only to discover McGrath was still in Dublin.

He was arrested and interviewed during which he admitted the attack and said he was sorry.

Defence counsel, Justin McQuade BL, said his client had €10,000 for Mr Relihan as a token of his remorse. Mr Relihan does not want the money and is planning on taking a civil case, the court heard.

Counsel said the attack was “the stuff of nightmares” and he had been instructed to publicly apologise to the victim. He called evidence from McGrath's sister, who said he lost his mother at a very young age in a traffic accident.

Mr McQuade appealed for leniency and said McGrath could be kicked out of the veterinarian's professional body because of the case.

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