Jail sentences handed down in 'brutal' Castleisland assault case

Catastrophic injuries for victim

Sinead Kelleher

Two men have been sentenced to jail for their part in an assault in Castleisland that was so severe that the injured party, Mr Eamon Sheehy, was left unrecognisable. Judge Tom O'Donnell described the case as 'savage' and 'brutal'.

The assault which occurred in January 2018 left the victim with 'catastrophic and life-changing injuries' which means Mr Sheehy, who was once a carer for his grandfather now requires care himself  himself.  "Such was the level of violence inflicted that he (Mr Sheehy) was unrecognisable," said Judge O'Donnell during the summing-up of the case  ahead of sentencing at Tralee Circuit Court on  Monday.

"It was a savage, brutal and sustained attack and Mr Sheehy's medical prognosis is guarded. It is feared he will not make  a full recovery," he said.  Last July a jury found Sean Lane of 51 An Caisléan Mór, Castleisland, guilty of assaulting Eamon Sheehy causing him serious harm in St Stephen's Park on January 14 as well as the production of an article.   His co-accused Jason Broderick, of 49 St John's Park, Castleisland, was also found guilty of producing an article capable of causing intimidation or injury, namely a baseball bat.  The court heard that Mr Broderick had brought the baseball bat with him on the night but that Sean Lane had grabbed it and used it in what he claimed was 'self-defence'.

The court had been told that the victim had a golf club and knife, but neither a knife nor the baseball bat was ever recovered.  Mr Lane knocked the golf club from Mr Sheehy and struck him with the bat numerous times despite pleas from the victim, who repeatedly said "I'm done" while lying on the ground.

Judge O'Donnell described as 'chilling' the evidence  of Eileen Bartlett that she had heard 'loud groaning' and saw a "man belting and belting and belting" a man on the ground and shouting at him to get up. She also heard the victim "striking his head off the ground." The court heard that Mr Sheehy's injuries were so severe that the paramedic was unable to tell whether the victim was male or female. 

Both Mr Lane and Mr Broderick were arrested and questioned after they were identified with the 'help' of social media.  The court heard that Mr Broderick and Mr Lane had both shown remorse for what happened.  The court had been told that Mr Broderick has asked Sean Lane for his assistance to get home on the night in question  Both defendants had gone to to St Stephen's Park where they threw stones at Mr Sheehy's window, which led him to come out of the house with a golf club.

Mr Broderick, the court heard, had a baseball bat for protection.  "He was roaming the streets of Castleisland to cause damage," said Judge O'Donnell. He said that Mr Broderick (20) who is a father of twins however had no idea of the 'enormity of the injuries' caused to Mr Sheehy on the night. The court heard that Mr Broderick has mental health issues and that drink and cannabis had clouded his judgement.

He was sentenced to three years with 12 months suspended for the production of a weapon.  The court heard that Mr Lane (25) had no intention of getting involved in an assault and that he had defended himself though he accepts that "his actions went beyond self defence".

The court was also told of a 'history' between the injured party and Mr Lane which was 'unhelpful'. The court heard that the DPP has advised that the incident was at the upper end of the scale.  Mr Lane has anger management issues; and also suffered a head injury at 16. Mr Lane has been in custody for 12 months and is availing of all the services available to him.

Judge O'Donnell said that it was a "very serious case" and that "violence of this nature cannot be tolerated in a civil society." He sentenced Mr Lane to nine years in jail for his role.

Judge O'Donnell commended the gardaí for their 'thorough' and 'professional' investigation and he praised local property owners for CCTV which proved 'pivotal" to the case.