Sunday 18 August 2019

Cork hurler who admitted assaulting man and woman receives suspended sentence

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Ralph Riegel

A CORK hurler who admitted assaulting a man and a woman after a city centre row received a two year suspended prison sentence.

Aaron Hannon, who played at intermediate level for Cork and was considered one of the county's emerging stars, had previously been remanded in custody for two months last year.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court had warned the defendant that proper compensation needed to be offered.

The court was told that Hannon had now raised a total of €10,000 in compensation.

Last year, Judge Ó Donnabháin released Hannon on bail after he had spent two months in prison following undertakings about the compensation to be raised.

He was told the two months in prison since February had been "an eye-opening and salutary" experience for Hannon.

"It was chastening," defence counsel Donal O'Sullivan BL told the court.

Hannon of 10 Liam Healy Road, Fairhill, Cork pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to a young man and a woman at Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, on October 16 2016.

Sergeant Kevin Joyce said Hannon did not intend to hit the woman involved.

In fact, Hannon was totally unaware that he had struck the woman until much later.

Mr O'Sullivan said there were witnesses who had indicated the man struck by Hannon had in fact been provoking and tackling the defendant on the street in the lead up to the assault.

The court was told that Hannon was being singled out by this man because of a case of mistaken identity.

Sgt Joyce acknowledged that, in the lead up to the assault, he would believe the defendant and the injured male were "50-50" involved in proceedings.

Mr O'Sullivan said his client fully accepted he was responsible for assault causing harm.

Gardaí said the assault by Hannon lasted around 90 seconds - but left the injured male with serious facial wounds.

He sustained extensive injuries to his eye socket and his cheekbone.

The court heard the injured party was unable to eat properly for weeks afterwards.

During the assault on the man, Hannon unwittingly struck the young woman with his forearm and his knee.

She was knocked to the ground and briefly lost consciousness.

Gardaí acknowledged that, at the time, Hannon was not aware he had struck the young woman during the confrontation with the young man.

Sgt Joyce said that, when things calmed down at the scene on Oliver Plunkett Street, the defendant was very co-operative with Gardaí, remained at the scene and later voluntarily attended a Garda station.

The judge said he accepted Hannon had co-operated fully with Gardaí, had admitted the incident at the earliest possible opportunity and was very remorseful for what had happened that night.

Judge Ó Donnabháin also accepted defence evidence that the incident was totally out of character for Hannon who was very involved in sport.

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