Tuesday 17 September 2019

Man fractured teenager's skull in 'revenge' attack with hurley

Alan Curtis (34) handed two year prison sentence for attack outside his mother's home

Alan Curtis (34), of Stannaway Road, Kimmage, arrives at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he was jailed for two years. PIC Collins Courts.
Alan Curtis (34), of Stannaway Road, Kimmage, arrives at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he was jailed for two years. PIC Collins Courts.

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man who fractured a teenage boy's skull with a hurley while dispersing a group of youths has been jailed for two years.

Alan Curtis (34), of Stannaway Road, Kimmage, was unanimously convicted by a jury last October of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to then 16-year-old David McClelland at Cashel Road, Crumlin, Dublin, on March 28, 2014.

He had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the offence. Curtis has previously served a partially suspended six year sentence for an assault causing serious harm to his former partner in a 2004 stabbing incident.

Judge Terence O'Sullivan said he accepted that Curtis had been at his mother's house when an antisocial incident involving about 20 youths occurred outside.

He said Curtis saw someone deliberately damage his car and nominated Mr McClelland as the culprit.

Curtis grabbed the hurley and exited the premises to drive away the boys, who had been playing music and making noise.

Judge O'Sullivan said he accepted that the injured party had attempted to strike Curtis with a plank, but missed.

The judge said if the incident had stopped there there would have been no problem, but Curtis followed Mr McClelland some distance and hit him with the hurley.

He said the jury had taken the view that Curtis was no longer defending himself but "had engaged in an act of revenge" by the time he hit the injured party. The judge imposed a four year sentence with the final two years suspended.

Gda Darragh McNally said Mr McClelland suffered a depressed skull fracture in the assault and underwent an emergency operation.

He was referred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment for this injury and the resulting damage to his speech mechanism.

A medical report from 2016 noted Mr McClelland complained that he still made errors with finding words, he suffered headaches and poor sleep and had missed a lot of school.

The report concluded that Mr McClelland's risk of post traumatic epilepsy was low.

Gda McNally agreed with Mr Fitzgerald that his client had been co-operative and compliant with his bail.

In a victim impact report read by prosecution counsel Sinéad McMullan BL, Mr McClelland described himself as a "quiet" person who had played sports and had a small group of close friends.

He said so much of his life had changed since the assault and that it was a "huge personal achievement" for him to even sit his Leaving Certificate.

He said while all his schoolfriends were celebrating their academic achievements, "I was just thankful to be alive".

He described his life as a "constant battle" since his brain injury.

"I cannot help feeling robbed for what should have been a happy end to my childhood," he said.

Mr McClelland added that he was always reminded of the injury when he saw his scar in photos and that he sometimes avoided speaking in case his words come out slurred.

Judge O'Sullivan said there might have been an argument for the sentence to be wholly suspended had Curtis no prior conviction for a serious assault.

He said this would have been due to the circumstances of the offence and the adverse consequences for the people in Curtis's life, notably his sick mother.

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