Sunday 21 January 2018

'In God's name can someone call a halt to this senseless carnage,' pleads tragic father

Eoghan MacConnell

THE family of a young man who died after a late-night assault said justice had been denied them, as two of his assailants escaped jail.

Student Andrew Dolan (20) died from injuries sustained during an assault in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, on December 23, 2011.

The NUIG biomedical student from Carrick-on-Shannon had been pleading "please don't hit me" as he was attacked. He died on New Year's Day 2012 in Beaumont Hospital.

One man has admitted to Andrew's manslaughter, and is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence.

Another man and woman, who were tried and acquitted of his manslaughter in January, yesterday avoided jail.

They were sentenced to 240 and 160 hours of community service for assault despite the judge admitting that they contributed to the circumstances of Mr Dolan's death.

Picture of the late Andrew Dolan
Picture of the late Andrew Dolan
Jessica Hughes was found guilty of assault. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Patrick Daly was found guilty of assault. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Patrick Farrell was sentenced to three and a half years for the manslaughter of Andrew Dolan. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

After sentencing at Mullingar Circuit Court yesterday, Andrew's heartbroken father, Joe, called for a halt to the "senseless carnage" that happens every weekend.

He said his son "never raised his voice let alone a hand except to plead with his attackers: 'Please don't hit me'."

"The attack of less than two minutes duration was captured clearly on CCTV. Three persons were charged with our son's unlawful killing.

"The two assault convictions amount to a finding that the action of the other defendants and Andrew's death were no more than coincidental. Is this justice?"

Mr Dolan added: "Andrew's death was yet another incident of random mindless violence which occurs with alarming frequency every weekend in Ireland for which there appears to be almost a social acceptance. How many more innocent young people must die or suffer life changing injuries and how many more families must be ruined before someone cries stop? In God's name can someone call a halt to this senseless carnage? Just think about it."

Andrew's mother, Rosie, described her son as a "fabulous, witty, funny guy, loved by everybody".

She said he was "adored by his family, by his uncles, aunts, his cousins, his friends, by his mates in Wilson's Hospital and in Galway".

"This sums up Andrew," she said, while holding up a picture of her son's donor card.

"He had his own signed donor card in his wallet, he was a great kid, fantastic kid, doing biomedical science and he is 50 years too early in our graveyard today."

Patrick Farrell (22) of Cornamuckla, Broadford, Co Kildare, earlier admitted to Mr Dolan's manslaughter and received a three-and-a-half years in prison sentence.

He had delivered a final blow that night which caused Mr Dolan to fall and hit his head on the ground.

Jessica Hughes (21) of Greenfield Heights, Rathwire, Killucan, Co Westmeath, and Patrick Daly (24), Mulphedder, Clonard, Co Meath, were acquitted of Mr Dolan's manslaughter when tried on the basis of joint enterprise last January.

Although acquitted of manslaughter, the jury found Daly guilty of assault causing harm, and Hughes guilty on a lesser charge of assault in relation to the attack on Mr Dolan.

Judge Anthony Hunt said Mr Dolan "had been minding his own business" on the night and was "singled out and confronted by Ms Hughes" who slapped him.

In a "human sense," Judge Hunt said the pair did contribute to the death of Andrew Dolan.

"I say that in the most general sense, not in the narrow legal sense," he added.

He suggested that the law could be looked at to cover the area of peripheral involvement in order to deal with issues of collective responsibility.

Judge Hunt ordered Ms Hughes to complete 160 hours of community service in lieu of five months in prison.

The community service is to be completed within a year.

Noting Mr Daly had offered to plead guilty to assault causing harm prior to his trial, Judge Hunt said "in lieu of two years in prison I will impose 240 hours community service".

Irish Independent

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