Wexford People

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Man viciously assaulted his best friend at wedding

A Wexford town man who carried out a vicious assault on his best friend of thirty-five years during a wedding reception has had sentencing adjourned.

49-year-old Philip Foley, of 9 Lower John Street, Wexford town, pleaded guilty before Judge Cormac Quinn at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Barry Smith on August 28, 2017, at the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy, causing him harm.

Prosecuting Garda Amanda Holmes told the court of being made aware of an incident at the hotel. The injured party, Barry Smith, was present at the premises and was known to the defendant.

She said that Mr Smith and Philip Foley were both guests at the wedding. The defendant approached Mr. Smith in the smoking area and was acting in an aggressive manner, but nothing happened at that stage.

Garda Holmes told the court that later on, about 1.45 a.m., Mr. Smith was again in the smoking area when the defendant barged through the door. The defendant approached him aggressively, punching him in the face and head. As a result Mr. Smith fell to the ground and was again punched and kicked before the defendant was dragged away by other people who arrived on the scene.

Garda Holmes said that an ambulance was called and Mr Smith was assisted by other people until it arrived. He was brought to Wexford General Hospital where he received several stitches to the right side of face and top of head. He also suffered several bruises and damage to his teeth.

Garda Holmes also said that Mr. Smith attended a dental surgeon on October 2, 2017, complaining of a fracture to the upper bridge of his teeth.

The garda told the court that CCTV footage from the hotel showed the altercation in the smoking area.

She said that on October 2, 2017, the defendant was arrested and brought to Enniscorthy Garda Station where he was interviewed, answering all questions. The defendant accepted he carried out the assault out of rage, but could not remember it.

In a Victim Impact Statement read to the court by Garda Holmes, the victim described how the celebration of a great day at a friend's wedding ended as a nightmare for him.

'I was hit in the eye by Philip Foley. I was knocked off balance, and hit again on the head. The next thing I was on the ground on my back, pleading with him to stop.

'I thought he was going to kill me. I was then dragged in the door. There was blood everywhere, the left side of my head was split open and my lip was cut. I was brought to hospital for stitches.

'When my partner saw me she was in a state of shock. When he saw me, my little boy was shocked but then he ran and hugged me.

'Since this incident I have never felt so unsafe in all my life. Even to open the front door of my home is an ordeal. I went back to work after two weeks.'

He added: 'I attended my dentist Rory Dwyer. There were cracks on the bridge of my teeth and I had to receive root canal treatment.

'I have known Philip Foley for years and thought we were friends but as a result of this assault my teeth are still tender, which is a constant reminder, while the scars are still prevalent.'

Garda Holmes agreed with Defence Counsel, Jordan Fletcher's statement that when the defendant said 'I'm going to kill you' it was a turn of phrase and never going to happen.

Mr. Fletcher said the reason for the assault, rightly or wrongly, was that unwanted sexual advances were made towards a lady by the injured party. While the assault should not have happened, that is what the defendant believed before losing it.

Mr Fletcher said the defendant is heartbroken at the turn of events as he and Mr Smith had been friends for thirty-five years. He took full responsibility for what had happened as it should not have gone that far.

Mr. Fletcher told the court that the defendant made full admissions and acknowledged his personal responsibility for the assault. On reflection the defendant felt he should have left the wedding at the time which would have taken him out of the situation.

Mr. Fletcher told the court that Foley is an Australian citizen, the father of five children, and works as a scaffolder. He suffers from Post Traumatic Distress Disorder as the results of incidents in his past life.

The reports before the court, said Mr. Fletcher, show that he is at low risk of reoffending. He said that he realises he needs psychological treatment to structure his life better and has been offered counselling which he plans to undertake.

Mr. Fletcher said his client has shown remorse, pleaded guilty, and accepted it was a sad occurrence that should not have happened.

Describing it as a very sad case, Judge Quinn said he had watched the assault on CCTV. He said he would adjourn the matter for an updated report, with the defendant to attend counselling and also an anger management course under the guidance of the Probation Services.

He is also to attend an Adult Survivors Abuse Programme course, under the guidance of the HSE.

Sentencing was adjourned to October 23.

Wexford People