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Trinity lecturer who threw victim down 15ft drop avoids jail

A TRINITY College lecturer has been given a suspended sentence for throwing a man down a 15ft drop causing him severe head injuries.

John Whipple (35) claimed he attacked the victim because he had urinated on his shoes. When an onlooker asked him why he had thrown the man over the wall, Whipple replied by shrugging his shoulders.

His victim was left with a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and facial palsy. He spent two months in hospital and was unable to close his eyes or hear for six months.

Whipple, of Ashley Avenue, Swords, but originally from America, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to causing serious harm to John Kennedy at Lower Abbey Street on February 11, 2011.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was unfortunate that there was a 15ft drop behind the railings.


He accepted that Whipple probably did not realise how substantial the fall was but did know there was at least an 8ft drop behind the railing.

"It seems that it is unlikely that he intended to cause the injuries he had but if he had thought about it, he would have realised what he did would cause the victim serious injury," Judge Nolan said.

"He acted in the absence of judgment but does not deserve a custodial."

He sentenced him to six years in prison which he suspended entirely on the condition that he pay over €10,000 to the victim within a week.

Garda James King told prosecuting counsel Elva Duffy that Mr Kennedy was seen in the area stumbling around in a seemingly drunken state.

Whipple had finished college where he was studying for a masters and was waiting to catch the bus home on Abbey Street.

Mr Kennedy was seen on CCTV approaching people at the bus stop. He approached Whipple and another man and after some interaction, Whipple grabbed him by the groin and the neck and threw him over a railing.

Mr Kennedy hit the ground and lay in a pool of blood until gardai and an ambulance arrived.

When someone asked Whipple why he had thrown the man over the railing, Whipple responded: "He p***ed on my shoes and I'm sick of it."

When gardai arrived he admitted he did it.

He later came to the garda station and said Mr Kennedy was drunk when he approached him. Whipple said he wouldn't leave him alone and began to urinate on his shoes.