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Thugs escape jail after victim kicked ten times in head

A judge has warned "two young bucks" that they came "within an ace" of being sent to jail for an unprovoked and vicious attack on a man in Co Kildare three years ago.

Judge Patrick McCartan imposed an 18-month suspended sentence on Robert Rice (20) and Ciaran Ahern (21) and told them they had been "reckless in the extreme" in contesting the case despite evidence of Karl O'Grady's facial injuries.

The judge said he couldn't see how the jury could have reached another decision in convicting the two men of assault causing harm after a retrial last month.

Rice, of Riverforest Estate, Leixlip and Ahern, of Rye River Mall, Dun Carraig also in Leixlip, were convicted by majority verdict after a five day retrial last month.

They had both pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr O'Grady at Riverforest Estate in the early hours of December 11, 2010.

Counsel for both men told the judge their clients had accepted the jury's decision. Neither man has any previous convictions.


Garda David Carey told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that Mr O'Grady and a Chinese friend had been walking in the River Forest area when they encountered Rice, Ahern and two other young men.

A fight broke out when someone passed the comment "swamp rat" and Mr O'Grady was punched, kicked and stamped on the head. Gda Carey said the victim received about 10 "volley style" kicks to the head while he was being attacked on the ground and suffered a broken jaw and broken teeth.

Rice and Ahern turned up voluntarily at Leixlip Garda Station to admit involvement in the attack after Mr O'Grady's father had gone on the Joe Duffy show to talk about the victim's injuries.

Gda Carey revealed that the then teenagers admitted they had caused the injuries but that they had acted in self defence.

He agreed with Eoin Lawlor BL, defending Ahern, that his client had named two others involved, which assisted gardai since they hadn't found anyone fitting the youths' descriptions in the area after the incident.

Mr O'Grady read out his victim impact statement in court and in it described how the medical report of his injuries had omitted detailing the pain and stress he endured for months.


He outlined how he was unable to eat solid food while his jaw was being rewired and that he was only paid for two weeks out of the seven he missed at work.

"I hope my assailants realise that the consequences could have been more serious for me, for them and their families," he said.

He told Judge McCartan he would accept the €10,000 Rice and Ahern each had for compensation, but said that the case had always been about justice.