Saturday 20 January 2018

Ex-soldier told to pay €5,000 after breaking colleague's jaw

Nicola Donnelly

An ex-Army cavalry trooper and member of the Presidential Escort broke his former lieutenant's jaw after a night out, a court heard yesterday.

He was given a non-custodial sentence on condition he pays €5,000 in compensation.

Gareth Jenkins verbally abused Lieutenant David Coughran before kicking him in the jaw, breaking it in three places, and leaving Mr Coughran on liquid foods for six weeks.

Jenkins (27), of Canon Mooney Gardens, Ringsend, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Lt Coughran on December 14, 2009, outside Barcode nightclub on the Clontarf Road in Dublin.

Garda Zita O'Connor told prosecuting counsel, Mr Michael Bowman BL, that Lt Coughran, who is a member of the 2nd Eastern Brigade in Cathal Brugha Barracks, notified gardai of his assault.

He was on a night out with friends and colleagues at Barcode when he went to the bar for drinks and saw Jenkins, who he described as "being irate and aggressive".

He said Jenkins turned to him and said: "You are nothing but scum. I am no longer in the Army so you can't do anything with me."

He said Jenkins pushed him in the shoulder and Lt Coughran fell backwards and walked away, the court heard.

At around 2am, Lt Coughran left the nightclub and waited for his friend in the back of a taxi. Jenkins approached the taxi with two other people and started shouting abuse at the officer. Jenkins then opened the back door and kicked Lt Coughran in the jaw.

The taxi driver drove Lt Coughran to the Mater Hospital, where he received reconstructive surgery on his broken jaw. Plates were also placed in his lower jaw.

Gda O'Connor told Mr Bowman that Jenkins was arrested several weeks later and initially denied any altercation but then said: "I hit him. I didn't kick him. I regret doing it and I am ashamed. I'll take my punishment like a man."

Drink

Mr Cormac Quinn BL, defending, said Jenkins, who joined the Army when he was 19 and had been part of the presidential motorcycle escort for a number of years, had consumed a lot of drink on the night and had left the Army two weeks prior to the incident due to a serious knee injury.

The escort is drawn from 2 Cavalry Squadron in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines.

"He has €2,000 in compensation for Lt Coughran and can come up with more money as he has a new job offer in January," explained Mr Quinn.

Judge Yvonne Murphy noted that the attack was unprovoked and that Jenkins and Lt Coughran were not strangers.

She sentenced Jenkins to one year in prison but suspended it and ordered that he pays the lieutenant €5,000 in compensation by September 2012.

Irish Independent

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