Judge David Waters said the actions of a Ballinskelligs man, who laid in wait in the shrubs for his victim before committing a pre-meditated assault, were at “the higher end of District Court offences”.
The judge said that Patrick Joseph Moran of Sussa, Emlaghmore, Ballinskelligs, could not put his actions down to a one-off mistake such as throwing a single punch or getting into an argument while drinking, and he imposed a five-month prison sentence on the 32-year-old for assaulting Gearóid McGill on April 21, 2019, at Ardcost, Portmagee.
Mr Moran contested the matter when it was heard in Cahersiveen District Court in October but was found guilty. The matter came before the Court again last Thursday as Judge Waters decided on an appropriate sentence.
The Court heard last week that Mr McGill was returning from a night out in Cahersiveen on the date. He got off a bus outside his house, and as he entered the driveway, a man he identified as Mr Moran jumped out from the shrubbery and assaulted him.
Gardaí told the Court that he punched Mr McGill numerous times. Mr McGill fell to the ground, after which Mr Moran kicked him into the head and body. His injuries required treatment, including five stitches.
Defence solicitor Brendan Ahern said that while his client had pleaded not guilty, he was entitled to some credit for not having entered a witness box and compounding matters.
Mr Moran is a hard-working construction worker, he added, and has no previous convictions.
Judge Waters said Mr Moran would have been entitled to a meaningful reduction in sentence had he pleaded guilty, but he described his actions as that of a serious, pre-meditated assault, and he said he had it in mind to hand down a custodial sentence.
He asked Mr Ahern if his client had anything to say by way of explanation for what happened, but Mr Ahern said he did not see how providing such an explanation would improve matters in any way for those concerned.
Judge Waters sentenced Mr Moran to five months in prison. Recognisance has been set in the event of an appeal.