Saturday 17 August 2019

Man described as 'an almost genius football player' jailed over two separate pub assaults

Scott Capper
Scott Capper

Sonya McLean

A MAN described by his lawyer as “an almost genius of a football player” has been jailed for three and half years for two separate pub assaults.

Scott Capper (25) punched the first victim, Jaroslaw Gaska, in the face, breaking his jaw, when the man touched Capper's girlfriend's hair after admiring it and telling her it was lovely.

Capper later told gardaí in interview that both he and his girlfriend had asked Mr Gaska to go away a number of times. He claimed he didn't wish the man any harm and admitted there had been “some heated discussion between them”.

A victim impact statement and medical reports stated that Mr Gaska also needed 10 stitches for a cut to his face. He had €1,100 in medical expenses and a loss of earnings of €2,000.

Garda Barry Keegan said two months later Capper punched Nevil Picton “in an upper cut fashion”, in what appeared to be an unprovoked assault.

He said the assault had been captured on CCTV footage but added that “there doesn't seem to be any lead up to the incident, no physical or verbal altercation”. Capper can be seen suddenly punching Mr Picton before slapping him to the side of the face, knocking him to the ground.

He told counsel that the motivation for the attack “was not apparent on CCTV nor was it put forward on interview”.

Gda Keegan told Joe Barnes BL, prosecuting, that Mr Picton's tooth was sent through his lower lip, leaving him with a large cut and damage to his tooth. A victim impact statement indicated that he had dental expenses of €2,680, was now extremely anxious in pubs and “rarely goes out since”.

Capper of Cappagh Green, Finglas West,Dublin,  pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Mr Gaska at the Morgan Hotel, Fleet Street, Dublin 2 on August 8, 2016 and assault causing harm to Mr Picton at Sin Nightclub, Temple Bar on October 2, 2016.

He has previously worked as a painter and decorator and has 46 previous convictions including a two year suspended sentence, handed down in December 2016, for assault causing harm on Dublin's Henry Street in May 2015. His other offences include possession of drugs, violent disorder, road traffic and public order.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Capper was “almost a genius of a football player as young man” but suffered ligament damage which ended his career.

“He may have found himself in one of the English teams had he not suffered this injury,” counsel told Judge Martin Nolan, adding that Capper had attended a number of football trials as a young man.

Mr Rea said Capper's family had stood by him and were in court to support him.

He said a probation report before the court outlined that Capper admitted that he had been abusing alcohol and cocaine at the time, which had left him very short tempered.

“He needs to get a grip of his drug addiction,” Mr Rea said before he added that Capper had the supports he needed.

“He did wrong. He has admitted his wrong,” counsel submitted.

Judge Nolan said there was some “mild provocation” in the first assault when Capper punched the victim with “considerable power” in what he described as “a gross over-reaction”.

He said there was “no provocation” in the second assault before he noted that Capper had “got a chance previously” when he received a suspended sentence for the assault in 2015.

“It seems he has a problem with his temper and has some control issues. There is no justification for the way he behaved,” Judge Nolan said.

He said he was taking into account Capper's plea of guilty and expressions of remorse before he described him as “an intelligent man who is well capable of reforming himself”.

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