A 24-year-old man who carried out an unprovoked hammer attack on a defenceless chef for a €9.50 packet of Benson & Hedges has been sentenced to three years in jail.
However, Dominic Hayes, of Inis Eagla, Shannon, Co Clare - who an expert says has a high risk of re-offending - will walk free later this year.
This arises from Hayes being in custody in relation to the offence since August 2013 and Judge Gerard Keyes suspending the last three months of the three-year jail term.
With remission for good behaviour, Hayes can expect to walk free towards the end of the year.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Keyes said Hayes was fortunate not to be before the court on a more serious offence.
"Hitting someone on the head with a hammer can lead to death or permanent disability," he said.
Gda Lorraine Quain said Hayes approached Paul Culligan (27) from behind on August 4, 2013 and hit him twice on the head with a hammer.
With blood streaming from his wounds, Mr Culligan lost consciousness and Hayes dragged him to an alley and hit him again with the hammer, breaking his collar bone.
Hayes pleaded guilty to the robbery of Mr Culligan at Coill Mhara, Shannon. He made off with cigarettes after going through Mr Culligan's pockets and finding no money.
The hammer blows to Mr Culligan's head needed eight staples and he was out of work for eight weeks