Sunday 17 December 2017

My son got a life sentence, says dad of assault victim

Ralph Riegel

THE family of a young Irishman who suffered brain injuries after a brutal attack in Australia expressed their anguish after one of his assailants was acquitted of attempted murder.

A Sydney jury found Thomas Isaako (21), a New Zealand national, not guilty of the attempted murder of David Keohane (30) in an horrific street robbery in August 2008.

Isaako had earlier pleaded guilty to both robbing the Cork-born flooring contractor and to assault causing harm. Mr Keohane -- a native of Ballyvolane in Cork -- suffered such horrific head injuries that he was initially not identifiable to police after the attack. He later spent eight months in a coma, and despite regaining consciousness on St Patrick's Day last year, will never regain his old quality of life.

The Keohane family -- who travelled to Sydney for the trial -- were visibly shocked by yesterday's acquittal.

Mr Keohane's father, Tom, said his son had received a life sentence because of Isaako's actions. "I just hope the judge comes down hard on this guy for the attempted robbery and the wounding -- I hope he [Isaako] rots in f ... ... Hell," he said. "I feel that it is my son who has been given a life sentence for being a great young man," he added.

Mr Keohane's sister, Carol, delivered an emotional victim impact statement to the court -- and appealed for public information in tracing Kane Tupela Ui, the other individual involved in the attack but who remains at large.

She explained that such were the scale of her brother's injuries that he had to re-learn how to talk, walk, wash and read.

Three Irish nationals have now been viciously assaulted in the Sydney area over the past three years -- one of whom died.

Following Isaako's acquittal yesterday it emerged he had attacked and robbed another man nine days after the savage attack on Mr Keohane. Isaako has been remanded in custody pending a sentencing hearing in April.


The Keohane family yesterday again thanked the Irish-Australian community for their support over the past two years -- and repeated their appreciation of prayers to Sr Mary McKillop on David's behalf.

Meanwhile, an Irishman is fighting for his life in an Australian hospital after becoming the latest expat to be brutally assaulted in Sydney.

Paddy Fox (29) is on a life-support machine after the incident outside a bar near the popular backpacker suburb of Coogee on Sunday.

His family is understood to be travelling from Cork to be by his bedside.

Irish Independent

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