Monday 27 January 2020

Hurler who assaulted man and woman after city centre row must raise 'adequate' compensation or face prison

(stock image)
(stock image)

Ralph Riegel

A CORK hurler who admitted assaulting a man and a woman after a city centre row was warned that he could face prison unless he raises adequate compensation.

Aaron Hannon, who played at intermediate level for Cork and was considered one of the county's emerging stars, was released on bail having been remanded in custody for two months.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that he expected the defendant to now take proper steps to compensate his victims for the injuries sustained.

"He now knows what he is facing if adequate and proper compensation is not raised by then," he said.

Judge Ó Donnabháin agreed to release Hannon on bail from custody after being told the two months in prison since February had been "an eye-opening and salutary" experience for him.

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

Judge Ó Donnabháin was told that a total of €4,000 in compensation had already been raised for the victims, and the defendant now intends to raise further amounts.

Judge Ó Donnabháin agreed to adjourn the matter until April 2019 to allow Hannon time to raise further monies for his victims.

Hannon of 10 Liam Healy Road, Fairhill, Cork pleaded guilty last October 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 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.

He remanded Hannon on bail and warned him of the importance of raising adequate compensation for the victims.

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