Saturday 24 February 2018

Football match punch costs lecturer €100,000

Victim only wanted '€100 and a proper apology'

Barry Duggan

A UNIVERSITY lecturer has paid €100,000 to an engineer who broke his leg in a fall following a punch from the academic during a soccer match.

However, the injured man, Hooman Reyhani, said last night that he would have preferred €100 in compensation and a proper apology.

University of Limerick (UL) lecturer Dr Frederic Royall (53) was yesterday bound to the peace for three years in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to assaulting the 43-year-old causing him harm at a UL sports complex on August 3, 2007.

Passing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran said the injured party was treated "disgracefully" in an off-the-ball incident, which occurred towards the end of a six-a-side soccer match.

The game had been organised by staff and members of the UL community.

Following a foul in the game, Dr Royall -- who serves as head of UL's School of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication -- punched Mr Reyhani in the face, with the injured man fracturing his leg twice as he fell awkwardly. He also suffered a facial laceration.

A sum of €100,000 was agreed by lawyers for both men as part of a civil settlement in the High Court before the criminal case was finalised yesterday.

Counsel for Dr Royall, Mark Nicholas, said the assault was "utterly wrong" and shouldn't have happened. He said it occurred in the "heat of the moment" and his client, who has no previous convictions, expressed regret.

Mr Nicholas said the €100,000 had to be borrowed and there was no insurance to cover the incident. The settlement also covered legal costs.

Judge Moran noted that the sum of money came from Dr Royall's own pocket and he had not received legal aid. He said he took the defendant's character into account in passing sentence.


Judge Moran noted that a district court judge had previously refused jurisdiction of the case before it was sent forward to the Circuit Criminal Court.

Had it been dealt with by the district court, Judge Moran said the maximum award would have been €6,000 or 12 months' imprisonment.

Afterwards, Mr Reyhani -- an Irish national with an Iranian background -- said he was very unhappy with the outcome. He said the case was "never about the money" and, from the compensation paid, legal costs amounted to €45,000 and medical expenses were €30,000.

He said the remaining sum of €25,000 "does not remotely cover ongoing/future medical treatments, substantial loss of income over the past four years, immense pain and suffering, and punitive and aggravated damages".

Mr Reyhani, who has lived in Ireland for 28 years, said €100 in compensation and a proper apology would have been a better outcome. He added that the judge should have "at least imposed a suspended prison sentence" on his assailant.

He said he now has to wear an ankle brace and has suffered "unbelievable distress".

Mr Reyhani, who is self-employed, said he is now house-bound and cannot enjoy simple things such as a walk in the park with his two-year-old son.

Efforts to contact a University of Limerick spokesperson were unsuccessful last night.

Irish Independent

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