A RECOVERING heroin addict has been given a five-month suspended sentence for a vicious pepper-spray attack on a children's variety show audience in Dublin.
A group of 72 young people from Inchicore had staged a variety show at the Tivoli Theatre in Francis Street when the incident took place.
The non-jury trial at Dublin District Court heard audience members and young performers had to be evacuated after a substance was sprayed on some of the patrons.
Father-of-two Shane Carey, (30) of Woodview Heights, Lucan, who has serious health problems, was convicted yesterday of assaulting two men and two women on April 27.
Lisa Donohue, her husband Daragh Sandford, her sister Denise O'Byrne and her husband Ronan were all injured.
Ms Donohue said a substance was sprayed for a few seconds from over the right shoulder of a man sitting in front of her, leaving her with "burning to my face and to my throat".
She was very shaken, began coughing and needed water so left the auditorium which was evacuated soon afterwards.
Her husband Daragh said he leaned forward and was an arm's length from the man who sprayed him and his wife in the face with a substance for five to 10 seconds. He called security and later saw the man go to the toilets. Mr O'Byrne said the man "sprayed us with a liquid spray", which caused his eyes to stream and nose to burn. His wife Denise described it "like a feeling of choking".
Garda Richard Moyston arrested Carey and told the court a "dragon pepper spray" was found in the Garda van.
Judge Walsh heard Carey had 26 convictions for forging prescriptions, burglary, theft, robbery and drugs possession.
Defence counsel Emmet Nolan asked him to note that Carey is a recovering heroin addict who had not offended since 2007 until the incident.
Judge Michael Walsh described the crime as a "nasty and vicious assault" but held that jailing Carey would not be in the public interest as it was clear he was serving a sentence as a result of his ailments, which include a pancreatic tumour.