A teenager has been jailed for two years for a racist assault on a law student that caused him to lose sight in one eye.
Aaron Shattock (19) of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on August 21, 2013 at exit 11 of the M50 in Tallaght.
The victim, 19 year old DIT student Yasser Saud was in the park with his cousin Hudi Saud and a female friend when they met Shattock and another man who were both known to their female friend.
Shattock and the other man feigned normality until the arrival of a gang of up to 12 others. They then began racially abusing the Iraqi cousins, calling them “Pakis”.
Judge Martin Nolan described Shattock as having the “perfect mitigation” and said he was satisfied it was a once off, but added the crime had to be “totally condemned.”
The judge commented that attack has left the victim with an incredibly serious injury which will preclude him from playing sport, reduce his confidence and interrupt his life.
He accepted Shattock’s remorse, previous clean record and the fact he didn’t intend to blind the injured party.
Judge Nolan told the court it gave him no pleasure to send Shattock to jail as the other attackers will likely not face the criminal justice system.
He apologised on behalf of the court for what happened to the victim because of Shattock’s “singular lack of judgement” and added that “most people in this room who have children would feel sorry for both parents.”
The judge imposed a three and half year sentence with the final 18 months suspended on strict conditions.
Garda Brian Hurl told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting that the group had begun n a prolonged assault on the cousins. Shattock picked up a large stick and swung it at them. He smashed the stick over Hudi’s arm, before another man identified as “Braggo” punched Hudi in the side of the face.
Saud told gardai that the gang then began “laying into” Hudi, while Shattock threw a piece of the broken stick at Yasser from a distance of three feet, striking him in the right eye.
The cousins were punched and kicked several more times by Shattock and other unidentified assailants before the gang fled, leaving Hudi “knocked out and covered in blood”.
Hudi suffered a broken jaw while Yasser suffered severe blood trauma and optic nerve damage to his eye, effectively blinding him in that eye. His vision is not expected to recover.
Reading his own victim impact statement to the court, Yasser said that he is paranoid that people will notice the damage to his vision, and that he can no longer play sports because he has lost hand-eye coordination. He also said that he now “shies away from people” and that his friendships now have “a sympathetic and fake feel” to them.
Shattock was arrested at his home two days after the incident. He disputed the victim’s version of events but admitted throwing the stick at Yasser, saying he didn’t know where it had struck him.
Gda Hurl agreed with Colman Fitzgerald BL, defending that Shattock has no previous convictions, had assisted the gardaí with their enquiries, and expressed genuine remorse for the harm he had caused. Gda Hurl described Shattock as “not the worst fella I ever met”.
Mr Fitzgerald told Judge Martin Nolan that Shattock completed his Leaving Certificate last year, and is employed full-time. He said that the incident was out of character for him and that he is trying to distance himself from the others involved.