Adult ADHD causes accused in late night ear biting assault to think impulsively, doctor tells court
A doctor has told a court that a man who carried out an assault in which he bit off part of the victims ear has adult ADHD which sometimes caused him to think impulsively.
James Mooney (22) punched his victim in the head before biting hard into the man's ear and tearing part of the ear off.
Mooney of Poolbeg Quay, Ringsend, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to James Ferrari at a GAA club on Sean Moore Road, Ringsend on April 1, 2013.
Judge Desmond Hogan adjourned sentencing to next January and ordered an assessment of Mooney’s suitability for the restorative justice programme and for community service.
In a victim impact report Mr Ferrari said that since the attack his life has been full of worry and depression. He has a recurring nightmare where he remembers first seeing his injury in a hospital mirror and breaking down, shaking and crying.
He said the attack has affected his job as he is shyer. He has lost contact with friends because he is not as social as he used to be. The father of one said he hopes to come to terms with the assault some day.
He underwent some surgery to the injury but he decided not to pursue reconstruction of the ear after medical advice that it would be lengthy and costly.
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Sean O’Domhnaill told Cathal McGreal BL, defending, that he treated Mooney and diagnosed him as having adult ADHD and that, as part of this disorder, he exhibited impulsivity resulting in an extremely over active mind.
He said sufferers of ADHD often feel that their mind “keeps going like a motor” and that this is why many of them start using cannabis. He said cannabis creates dopamine in the brain and the disorder is caused by a lack of dopamine.
He said from an early age people with adult ADHD will be over talkative, inpatient, restless in queues, and will find it difficult to sit still. He said sufferers experience overthinking during the day and their mind won’t shut down at night.
The psychiatrist said that Mooney told him that after “all hell broke loose” during the assault he wasn’t conscious of having bitten anyone. He said Mooney had spent the evening self-restraining and avoiding confrontation with another man, Andrew Murren.
The court heard that Mr Murren, who was a friend of the victim, knew Mooney and was slagging him. The victim thought this was getting serious and becoming physical and approached the men and told Mr Murren he was leaving.
Mr Ferrari told gardai that as he was leaving the club he was punched in the face by Mooney. He put his arms up to shield his face. He then felt Mooney biting hard into his ear. He felt blood running down his neck and felt flesh being torn away from his ear.
Mooney later confessed and said he didn’t intend to take the ear off. He told gardai he didn’t know what happened to the missing part.
Garda Alan Byrne told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that the victim lost €1900 in lost earnings and paid out €350 in hospital fees, drugs and counselling.