Tuesday 21 November 2017

Two remanded in custody for vicious attack on man helping woman at club

Sonya McLean

Two Dublin friends who attacked a man because they wrongly believed he had pushed a woman have been remanded in custody for two weeks pending sentence.

John Fitzpatrick (23) and Robert O Keefe (23) had been out celebrating O Keefe’s 21st birthday when they saw Daniel Lambert escort a friend, who was feeling “worse for wear”, outside of a nightclub.

Fitzpatrick approached the woman and told her she would be better off with him. Mr Lambert told Fitzpatrick to go away.

Fitzpatrick punched Mr Lambert, knocking him to the ground and he and O’Keefe continued to attack him while he lay there.

The pair ran off when the security men from the nightclub intervened and an ambulance was called for the victim who lay unconscious on the ground.

Garda Robert Griffin told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Mr Lambert was later treated in hospital for a broken middle finger, broken teeth, a cut above his eye and bruising to his cheek.

He has since had to undergo dental work which will have to be repeated every 10 years.

The security men from the nightclub later pointed out Fitzpatrick and O Keefe to gardai and both men made immediate admissions to assaulting Mr Lambert.

Fitzpatrick, of Oranmore Road, Ballyfermot, and O Keefe of Ballyfermot Drive, also in Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in Temple Bar on July 18, 2010.

Neither has previous convictions nor has come to garda attention since.

Gda Griffin agreed with John Moher BL, defending O’Keefe, that both his client and Fitzpatrick still maintain that Mr Lambert was being aggressive towards the girl and had pushed her but accept that their behaviour was excessive.

The garda confirmed that neither Mr Lambert nor the woman he was with on the night accept the victim was aggressive.

He said the woman was interviewed again after O’Keefe and Fitzpatrick’s claims and she insisted that Mr Lambert was looking after her because she was “worse for wear”.

Both men had written a letter of apology to the court.

Judge Martin Nolan said the men had attacked and beat Mr Lambert after getting “the wrong end of the stick”.

He said their behaviour was “pretty reprehensible” but accepted that alcohol had “probably affected their judgment”.

He further accepted their co-operation with the gardai, their lack of previous convictions, their pleas of guilty and the fact that “both will probably contribute to society in the future”.

Judge Nolan remanded the men in custody for two weeks and adjourned the case for sentence because he said he needed time to consider the case.

Mr Moher told Judge Nolan that his client was “under the impression that his intervention on the night was warranted” and asked the court to accept that his actions were “out of character”.

He said O’Keefe has an 18-month-old son with his current partner and his recently secured employment as an assistant to a lorry driver.

Dean Kelly BL, defending Fitzpatrick, submitted that this client was previously of “impeccable character” and had applied to join the Irish Navy last May.

He said Fitzpatrick accepts that he had been “wrong, excessive and unlawful” in attacking Mr Lambert and submitted to the judge that his client was “extremely unlikely to come before the courts again”.

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