Two Dublin men who "stomped" on the head of their victim while he was lying on the ground, leaving him with a serious head injury, have avoided a jail term.
The victim, Philip O'Hanlon (27), was later treated for a clot in his brain. He spent a total of 20 days being treated in three different hospitals, was out of work for a year and is still on anti-seizure medication.
Aaron Lambe (22), of Swords Road, Whitehall, had come forward from the District Court to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty to assaulting Mr O'Hanlon causing him harm on Eustace Street on June 17, 2012.
Ryan Richardson (21), of Buttercup Park, Darndale, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the same offence. Lambe has no previous convictions, while Richardson had six previous convictions for public order offences.
One witness later told gardai that Lambe was the ringleader and said it all kicked off because of tension on the dance floor.
"The victim's head was on the kerb and four people were stamping on his head," this person told gardai.
Another witness identified both Richardson and Lambe and described the men as kicking the victim in the face and delivering "stomps" to his head.
Richardson told gardai he had spent around €100 on drink that night and had taken a small amount of cocaine. Lambe also said he was drunk and had a vague memory of the fight.
Judge Ring expressed surprise when it was confirmed the Director of Public Prosecution had directed that the case could be dealt with in the District Court. The District Court judge refused jurisdiction and sent the case to the Circuit Court.
Judge Ring noted that the attack has "altered the course of the victim's life" but accepted that it was a not pre-meditated.
She handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence, which she suspended in full on the condition that both pay €3,500 each over to the victim, in three separate instalments, by June 30, 2017.
Garda Wayne Donnelly told the prosecution that Lambe and Richardson had been in the Mezz Bar in Temple Bar along with Mr O'Hanlon and there was some interaction between the three in the club.
Outside, Mr O'Hanlon was punched to the head and face but he managed to move away.
Lambe followed him before he pulled Mr O'Hanlon by the collar and tried to punch him. The victim later admitted to gardai that he "threw a few punches, because I thought I would get a beating if I didn't protect myself".
Mr O'Hanlon moved away again but Richardson and Lambe's group charged towards him before he was dragged to one side of a parked car.
He fell to the ground and he was kicked in the face and his head was stamped on.
Gda Donnelly agreed with Lambe's defence that he was both co-operative and honest with gardai and demonstrated genuine remorse.
Lambe told the court he was disgraced and disappointed by his behaviour.
Gda Donnelly agreed with Richardson's defence that his client could not believe what had happened when he later viewed the CCTV footage of the assault in the garda station.
He accepted that it was a once-off incident for Richardson, which was entirely out of character.
Mr O'Hanlon initially spent five days in St James's Hospital before he was discharged. He returned to the hospital two days later complaining of headaches and nausea but was discharged again.
He went to Tallaght Hospital three days after that and spent four days there before he was transferred to Beaumont Hospital, where it was discovered that he had a brain clot. He spent 10 days there.
He was later put on anti-seizure medication and had to take long-term sick leave.