Sunday 17 November 2019

Man who knocked victim unconscious after wrongly believing he had insulted his girlfriend, avoids jail

Stock picture
Stock picture

Sonya McLean

A man who left his victim with a fractured jaw after he knocked him unconscious in a case of mistaken identity has received a fully suspended sentence.

Ciaran McGuire (21) had wrongly thought Stephen McQuillan had insulted his girlfriend when he struck him to the side of his face, as the victim and his girlfriend were waiting for a taxi.

Mr McQuillan was later treated for a cut to his face and a fractured jaw and needed to undergo seven hours surgery to repair the damage. He also lost three teeth which led to €20,000 in dental costs.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced McGuire to three years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in full on strict conditions including that he hand over €3,000 in compensation to the prosecuting garda and hand over a further €10,000 within an 18 month period.

“If he has to borrow it or beg it he must do it,” Judge Nolan said. He said that if the injured party was not interested in the monies then the court would transfer them to a charity.

McGuire of Slieve Corragh, Hollywood, Co. Wicklow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in Tallaght on October 16, 2016. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Alan Mooney told Barry Ward BL, prosecuting, that Mr McQuillan was aware of a verbal altercation in the pub between McGuire and someone else but had nothing to do with it. He had just left the pub along with his girlfriend before he was knocked to the ground when he was hit to the left side of his face.

The victim's girlfriend later told gardaí that she heard a bang and saw that Mr McQuillan had fallen face first onto the ground. She could see he had lost his teeth and there was blood coming from his mouth.

Gda Mooney said McGuire was identified after gardaí viewed CCTV footage of the assault and he was arrested at his home the following March.

He admitted his involvement and was contrite and apologised for his behaviour. He said it had essentially been a case of “misidentifying” the victim as being the person who had made a comment about his partner.

Gda Mooney agreed with Diana Stuart BL, defending, that her client had “always apologised for his actions” and had no idea of the damage he had caused after he assaulted the victim.

She said he was 18 years old at the time, has since moved to Wicklow to live with his father and has not come to garda attention since.

Ms Stuart said a probation report had highlighted some “red flags” in that her client had problems with managing his anger and impulsivity and he had since “undertook an anger management class”.

“He has spent the last three years trying to recompense,” counsel said before she added that he is now playing football with his local team in Wicklow and is working as a bricklayer.

Counsel handed in letters from McGuire's parents and a reference which described him as “a honest, good man who recognised what he did was wrong”.

“He has shown he is a man who can work hard and has done his best to reform himself,” Ms Stuart submitted.

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