Thursday 15 November 2018

Air Corps technician ordered to pay €22k to dad-of-two for one-punch nightclub assault

Victim Mr Colin McGarrigle enters Sligo Courthouse
Defendant Anthony Lynch who assaulted Mr McGarrigle in 2016

Sorcha Crowley

A member of the Air Corps has been ordered to come up with €22,000 in compensation for punching a man in a nightclub which resulted in a fractured skull and broken nose.

Anthony Lynch (23) of Carrowkeel, Carraroe had his sentence deferred by Judge Keenan Johnston at Sligo Circuit Criminal Court to May 29th next to allow him gather the money.

Lynch pleaded guilty to assaulting Colin McGarrigle in 5th on Teeling nightclub on Teeling Street 9th October 2016, the Sligo Champion reports.

The accused handed in a bankdraft for €10,000 to the court last week, which the court heard was a Credit Union loan he took out himself.

Outlining details of the assault, Ms Dara Foynes BL prosecuting, told the court that case against Lynch was a "one-punch" assault in 5th on Teeling which caused Mr McGarrigle to fall back and hit his head, knocking him out.

A statement was read out from the accused's uncle, Mr Damien Scanlon where he said he met his nephew Anthony Lynch at the sound desk in 5th on Teeling while a band was playing.

Defendant Anthony Lynch who assaulted Mr McGarrigle in 2016
Defendant Anthony Lynch who assaulted Mr McGarrigle in 2016

They bought two bottles of Heineken which they put down while they went dancing. When they looked over some time later they noticed the two bottles were gone.

The uncle then said they noticed two men, the victim Mr McGarrigle with another man who had Heinken bottles.

They approached them about it and they were offered back their bottles with one of the men apologising for taking the drinks.

The court heard there was "no unpleasantness" and the men continued to have some banter between them.

Victim Mr Colin McGarrigle enters Sligo Courthouse
Victim Mr Colin McGarrigle enters Sligo Courthouse

As Mr Scanlon and his nephew were leaving the venue, the court heard the victim, Mr McGarrigle, made a smart remark to Mr Scanlon.

Lynch suddenly "threw a punch on Mr McGarrigle in a split second" and he fell backwards.

Mr Scanlon said he could see Mr McGarrigle was knocked out and took out his phone and dialled 999.

He finished his statement by saying that his nephew was a "very jolly happy person and not violent."

Ms Foynes told Judge Johnston that the victim was a married man with two children and worked as an accountant for a bank in Dublin.

He was a Sligo native who had returned home and was enjoying "a good night out".

He told Gardaí in a statement read out to court, that the next thing he remembered was being out on the ground and then in Sligo University Hospital with a fractured skull and his neck in a brace.

A statement from a bouncer in the venue read out by Ms Foynes said that he saw "a tall male with short ginger hair leaving his drink down and swinging his right fist at the lad in the blue shirt."

He said the victim had earlier been "making smart remarks to the uncle of Anthony Lynch."

Garda Sandra Deery of Sligo Garda Station testified that she viewed CCTV footage of the assault.

She said Lynch placed his two hands on Mr McGarrigle's chest before giving him one punch to the head.

Judge Johnston asked her if there was any evidence of aggression by the victim in the footage.

"None at all," she replied.

The witness said that when she arrested and cautioned Lynch by appointment on November 26 2016 he replied: "I didn't mean to knock him out. I'm very sorry."

A report from the Emergency Department consultant Mr Fergal Hickey confirmed Mr McGarrigle spent six days in hospital having suffered a fractured skull and a fracture to his nose.

The court heard Lynch is a technician in the Air Corps. He said he went out that night with a friend to see Rackhouse Pilfer and bumped into his uncle in 5th on Teeling.

"I was finally fed up. I lost my temper. I struck him hoping he'd go away," he told Gardaí.

He said his uncle had been going on about Mr McGarrigle all night and Mr McGarrigle "wouldn't go away."

"I just wanted him to go away," he told detectives.

He told them he had done a little bit of self-defence through work but didn't think he had any anger management issues and repeated how sorry he was.

Lynch described what he had done as "disgusting" in his statement to Gardaí.

Anthony Lynch's victim, Mr Colin McGarrigle outlined in his Victim Impact Statement how the assault affected him and his family.

He said his physical injuries included a skull fracture, brain injury, fractured nose which led to breathing problems he had to have more surgery for and memory loss.

He said he missed three weeks of work and is now receiving treatment from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland in Dun Laoghaire.

Mr McGarrigle said he now has a reduced tolerance for noise, memory loss, irritable and for the first six months after the assault became very down and apprehensive about going out.

He said that on the night in question, his mother was woken up by Gardaí at the door in the middle of the night and his wife in Dublin had to leave their two children to come to Sligo.

His father had been working in Uganda and had to return home to see his son in hospital.

He had been training for the marathon before the assault.

His four year old daughter showed signs of anxiety over his hospital visits and he had to make up stories about them for her.

"I find it difficult that a night out in my home town could end up in a night of violence," he said.

Defence barrister for Lynch, Mr Michael Bowman SC accepted Mr McGarrigle was a "young man in high spirits enjoying a night out with a friend who was getting married."

Sligo Champion

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