Saturday 24 February 2018

Suspended sentence for man who broke teenager's eye socket

The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Sonya McLean

A man who broke a teenager's eye socket with a single punch in a case of mistaken identity has been given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence.

The attacker, Conor O'Regan (22), had been out socialising with friends when he claimed he had been set upon by a group of people.

He and his friends tried to find the people who had been causing him trouble and wrongly identified Cian O'Hara, then 18, as one of the culprits.

Mr O'Hara tried to tell him he had nothing to do with it but O'Regan hit him a blow to the side of his face.

The victim told gardai he felt a cracking sensation and was left stunned. He later needed a metal plate inserted into his left eye socket, which had been fractured by the punch.

O'Regan, of Bay View Court, Killiney, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr O'Hara causing him harm on Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, on September 22, 2012. He has no previous convictions.

O'Regan stood in court to apologise to Mr O'Hara: "Cian, I apologise for my actions and I am very sorry for what I have done to you and your family. I will never do anything like that again."

Mr O'Hara, who had stated in his victim-impact report that he didn't believe O'Regan was a bad person, replied: "Cheers, thank you."

Judge Mary Ellen Ring informed Mr O'Hara that O'Regan will have a permanent marker on his record but said that the man had "met the case honourably in contrast with the way he acted on the night in question".

She accepted that O'Regan had €3,000 in court as a token of his contrition and that he recognise d the consequences of his actions before she suspended the two-and-a-half-year sentence on strict conditions.

Judge Ring wished O'Regan and Mr O'Hara the best of luck for the future.

Garda Brian Whitney told Pieter Le Vert, prosecuting, that O'Regan's friends pulled him away from Mr O'Hara after the punch and a scuffle broke out.

The garda then appeared on the scene and asked the man if he wanted to make a complaint but he refused, saying he and O'Regan were friends. Mr O'Hara then approached the garda and pointed out O'Regan as his attacker.

O'Regan was arrested and made a cautioned statement to gardai the following month.

O'Regan told gardai his actions on the night were completely out of character. "I am sorry for what I have done and I have stopped drinking as a result," O'Regan said.

Mr O'Hara stated in his victim-impact report that he incurred almost €1,500 in hospital charges and was left with a swollen eye for two to three weeks.

Irish Independent

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