Man who punched friend who slagged him for not buying round of drink avoids jail
A man who punched his friend who had been slagging him for not buying a round, leaving him with serious injuries, has been given a four year suspended sentence and ordered to pay €5,000 to the victim.
James Hogan (39) of Edenmore, Dublin 5, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Anthony Donegan at the Concorde Pub, Coolock on August 8, 2011.
Garda Niall Gibbs told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that Hogan had been drinking in the pub since about 12.30 that day. Mr Donegan arrived later at about 6pm.
Gda Gibbs said a witness reported that the two men were drinking together, and that at some point Mr Donegan bought a round. When Hogan failed to reciprocate, Mr Donegan began mocking him.
Hogan was heard to say that he had done lots of favours for Mr Donegan down the years, and that he had always paid Mr Donegan back. The two men then went for a cigarette.
The same witness said that she heard the men outside having a heated debate, that Mr Donegan told Hogan that he was sorry, and that Hogan could hit him if it would make him feel better. Hogan declined once but then punched Mr Donegan in the face.
The witness told Gda Gibbs that Mr Donegan “went down like a pack of cards”. He hit his head at the bottom of some steps.
Mr Donegan was taken to hospital, where he spent two months being treated for head injuries. He had been employed as a fish cutter in Howth but was no longer able to work after the incident, the court heard.
Gda Gibbs agreed with David Staunton BL, defending, that Hogan has no previous convictions and that the incident was a “single, momentary lapse of judgment” that Hogan deeply regretted.
The court heard that Hogan and Mr Donegan had become good friends in the months before the incident.
Mr Staunton told Judge Martin Nolan that Hogan, who is married with two children, had been unemployed at the time for the first time in his life and had been drinking heavily. He is now employed in a car rental company. He also said Hogan had brought €5,000 to the court to offer as compensation.
Imposing the suspended sentence, Judge Nolan said that Mr Hogan had never intended to injure his friend but that history shows that one punch can have a devastating impact.