Sunday 25 August 2019

Man receives 240 hours community service in lieu of jail sentence for one-punch assault

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man has received 240 hours community service in lieu of three years in jail for a one-punch assault which left an acquaintance with a fractured skull and reduced hearing.

Keith Curran (40) of Weaver Street, The Coombe, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the 32-year-old male causing him harm outside The Clock pub, Thomas Street, Dublin, on June 18, 2017. Curran has no previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that the punch came about after a verbal disagreement, which had been fuelled by a large amount of alcohol. The injured party fell and hit his head off the ground, fracturing his skull.

The judge said that though the man has been left with hearing and sensory difficulties and changes to his quality of life, he didn't wish to see Curran incarcerated. The court heard the man had known Curran's family.

Judge Greally deemed the offence at the upper end of the scale for assaults of its kind, but gave the father-of-four credit for his guilty plea, co-operation and genuine remorse.

Earlier, Detective Garda Garvan Ware told Anne Rowland SC, prosecuting, that the injured man had been refused entry to The Clock because the bouncer had deemed him too drunk.

Curran crossed the road from another pub, encountered the injured party and gave him a cigarette as they talked.

He later told gardaí that the injured party had asked him to hold his drink and at some point threatened to knock him out. He also admitted he had punched the man.

Det Gda Ware said witnesses saw the injured man on the ground after hearing a “bump”. Garda Peter Tuffy, a trained emergency first responder, happened to be passing by and treated the man.

He was unresponsive, bleeding from his left ear and a CT scan later revealed he had suffered complex skull fracture. The court heard the man was placed in an induced coma and discharged from hospital two weeks later.

In a victim impact statement, which was read out by Ms Rowland, the man said he has permanent loss of smell and taste and 40 percent hearing loss. He said he sleeps a lot, has impaired memory and constant headaches and feels he will never be the same again.

Det Gda Ware agreed with Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, defending, that this incident was totally out-of-character and that her client gave an account consistent with witness and CCTV evidence.

The detective accepted that Curran was not a man of any means.

Ms Lawlor submitted to Judge Greally that “the consequences of a one-punch assault fit within the spectrum of virtually none to fatal”.

She said these were people drinking on a summer evening and that their exchange had been coloured by intoxication. She submitted her client was very remorseful and never imagined he would have inflicted such an injury.

Judge Greally noted that Curran is on social welfare payments arising from an accident at work but that he continues to engage with employment services. She further noted that there had been no compensation raised, but that the injured party wanted the case finalised.

She ordered that Curran complete his community service within 12 months.

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