Monday 16 September 2019

Man (29) who attacked housemate with wooden axe during football match avoids jail

The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed
The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed Newsdesk Newsdesk

A 29-year-old man who attacked one of his housemates with a wooden axe he made, has avoided a custodial sentence.

Jacek Szostakowski, Ferdia Park, Ardee, received a suspended sentence, after he pleaded guilty at the circuit criminal court in Dundalk to charges of assault causing harm, and producing the axe.

The incident occurred on 11 November, 2016, at Rogan's Lane, Ardee, where the accused, his victim, and a third man, all Polish nationals, were sharing a house.

They were watching a Poland football match on television at the time,. The Argus reported.

Evidence was given, through an interpreter, that Szostakowski has mental health issues, and was drinking at the time, but has since given up alcohol.

Garda Lisa McEntee said the two parties were already experiencing difficulties in their relationship, and on this particular evening, the defendant was offended the other man didn't shake hands with him.

The victim was with two others, watching the match for about 20 minutes, when he suddenly got a blow to the back of the head.

He tried to get up, was struck a second time, tried to get up again, and received a third blow.

He turned around and saw a wooden hatchet, held by Szostakowski, coming towards him. His attacker also had a wooden shield.

Judge Michael O'Shea heard these items were made by the accused for a Viking re-enactment. The blade of the axe was also wood.

He continued to try to hit his housemate, but the other man managed to get up and grab the hatchet; while one of the others grabbed the shield.

Szostakowski was restrained until his father, who the men sent for, arrived.

The injured party was kept overnight in the Lourdes. He suffered a deep 7cm laceration to the back of his head, which required stitches.

In a victim impact statement, he said he had a number of days off work, and is left with a scar which bleeds when he shaves his head.

"I've lost trust in people. He was my flatmate, and now I'm afraid to share a house. I'm lonely.

"He's never said sorry, or made any attempt to. He laughs at me on the street when I see him."

Gda. McEntee added she found Szostakowski intoxicated, and in an agitated state, when arresting him.

He had difficulty remembering the event, because of having drink taken; and his father said he should be in a hospital.

The defendant, who is single, works with his father in Finlay's coffin factory, and now resides with his parents in Ferdia Park. He has no previous convictions.

Apologies were offered on behalf of Szostakowski, described by his counsel as 'socially awkward'.

The problem is the effect alcohol has on him, but he hasn't taken a drink since this.

From Poznan, he has been suffering from depression since his early teens.

References were handed in from his father, and his employers, Finlay's, and the court heard he is receiving alcohol addiction treatment, and attends AA on a weekly basis in Navan.

The defendant earns less than €330 per-week, and after paying for his board and lodgings, and therapy, there is little left, but he can offer €20 per-week by way of compensation.

Counsel asked that his client not be jailed.

Judge O'Shea remarked this was an unprovoked, vicious and violent assault.

Jacek Szostakowski was intoxicated on the day, and each time the other man went to get up, he was hit.

They were not getting on in the house.

The judge imposed concurrent two-year suspended sentences.

He said a sum of €1,500 compensation should be paid to the victim, and gave the defendant 14 months to do that.

The Argus

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