Sunday 18 February 2018

Man found guilty of assault on Irish tourist in Australia

A MAN has been found guilty of assaulting an Irish tourist in Australia, leaving him with life-changing injuries.

Daniel Byrne (21) stood trial this week for allegedly punching Irish tourist Timothy McCarthy, then 40, in the head outside the Quick n’Go shop in on Northbourne Avenue in Canberra in the early hours of Sunday, July 24, 2011.

CCTV footage showed Byrne punching Mr McCarthy.

Byrne then walked away from the scene as McCarthy lay motionless on the ground.

He was rushed to hospital with severe swelling in his brain.

Earlier today, Chief Justice Helen Murrell handed down her judgment, finding Byrne guilty of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Ms Justice Murrell dismissed Byrne’s argument that he was defending himself when he knocked out Mr McCarthy with one punch, causing him to fall back "like a plank" and smash his head

A neurosurgeon who treated Mr McCarthy said he would have died without immediate treatment, and had almost certainly suffered long-term effects.

Byrne was arrested the following day.

Police discovered him hiding in his garage.

He was subsequently charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Byrne denied the allegations and claimed the victim was about to punch him. However, this was dismissed by the court.

Byrne claimed he had been standing outside the shop with a group, when an intoxicated Mr McCarthy had approached them and started “hugging” them.

Byrne took exception to this and claimed an argument started between the pair.

He claimed the victim invited him to fight him.

His barrister, Anthony Hopkins, said the accused then punched Mr McCarthy in “an instinctive, split-second reaction” to deal with the threat.

But this evidence was rejected by Chief Justice Murrell who found all of Byrne’s evidence, as well as that of his friend, to be unreliable.

She found the punch was ‘‘intentionally powerful’’ and that Byrne had known that delivering it would cause really serious injury.

Byrne was released on bail, and will be sentenced in February.

Irish Independent

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