IN November of last year 24year-old Roy O'Driscoll from Summerhill, Mallow pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Gerard O'Connell at Ballydaheen in Mallow in the early hours of January 1, 2012.
Garda Noelle Sweeney told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that O'Driscoll had approached Mr O'Connell and his wife Ann, and asked them for a cigarette before pushing Mrs O'Connell to the ground.
"Gerard O'Connell stepped in to protect his wife. Roy O'Driscoll punched him in the face in an unprovoked assault. Witnesses state that he [O'Driscoll] punched him repeatedly about the head and body while he was on the ground," said Garda McSweeney.
Defence council Blaise O'Connell SC said that O'Driscoll was drunk at the time and was seen staggering off into the night.
He pointed out that, as a token of his remorse, O'Driscoll had gathered €5,000 to offer as compensation. However, Mr O'Connell and his family had made it clear, through gardai, that they did not want the money and would not accept it.
Jailing O'Driscoll for seven - years, Judge Patrick Moran said it was one of the worst cases he had come across in his time on the bench.
"You punched him [Mr O'Connell] in the face in an unprovoked assault. You knocked him to the ground and you punched him in the face and body while he lay on the ground and all the while Mrs O'Connell was begging you to stop hitting her husband," Judge Moran told O'Driscoll.
Judge Moran said the attack "went on and on and on" and that, were it not for the fact that two passers by came on the scene, he was satisfied the assault would have continued with possibly even worse consequences for Mr O'Connell.
He said the terrible effects of the assault and the misery it caused Mr O'Connell and his family were evident from the Victim Impact Statement, adding that he sympathised with the O'Connell family for what they had suffered.
The judge noted that in October, 2011, O'Driscoll had pledged at Mallow Circuit Court to keep the peace when he successfully appealed a 14-day prison sentence from Mallow District Court but had reneged on that promise within two months and that Mr O'Connell had paid the price of that breach.
The court also heard that O'Driscoll had come to the attention of gardai last March after he breached a curfew imposed on him at an earlier court appearance connected to the New Year's Eve incident.
The judge further noted that Mr O'Carroll SC had stated that O'Driscoll "did his bit" by coming up with €5,000 compensation, but that Mr O'Connell and his family were "absolutely correct" in the approach they had taken as it was a "derisory sum" for the damage they had suffered.
"This was one of the worst cases of assault I have come across in my years in this city and county, one of the worst," said Judge Moran.