Man jailed for assaulting woman with glass as she walked home in Wicklow

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Seán McCárthaighBray People

A young man has been jailed for 12 months for throwing a whiskey glass at a woman on her way home from a pub in Greystones two years ago.

Christian O’Brien (21) of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to the woman at Killincarrig Road, Greystones on May 27, 2021.

Garda Edel Drury told a sitting of Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court that the woman and some friends had noticed the defendant acting weird as they were leaving a pub in the town.

The garda said O’Brien had also been taking photos of them.

As the group was walking along Killincarrig Road, Garda Drury said the woman turned around when she heard a shout “catch this” and was struck in the face with a glass.

She said a group of people chased after O’Brien and detained him until gardaí arrived and arrested him.

Garda Drury said questioning of O’Brien at Bray garda station had to be deferred until the following morning due to his state of intoxication.

She said the accused denied throwing the glass but CCTV footage had captured him holding a glass in his hand, although the assault itself was not caught on camera.

The court heard the victim – a 39-year-old mother of one – received a cut above her right eye for which she required five stitches but would have a permanent scar.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was off sick from work for seven weeks and had stopped socialising for a while because of the incident.

She said she no longer felt safe “even during the day” and also suffered panic attacks and depression.

The woman said she was crying all the time and had found the following Christmas “a horrible time” as she had to try and hide her feelings from her young son.

The court heard O’Brien, who comes originally from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, has 81 previous convictions including five for assault and 26 for public order offences.

Judge Patrick Quinn was informed that the accused was on bail after being charged with a burglary in Nenagh when he committed the offence in Greystones.

Counsel for O’Brien, Éamonn O’Moore BL, said his client had spent a period of his childhood in care and had an addiction with alcohol and drugs.

However, Mr O’Moore said it was “not all doom and gloom” as O’Brien had recently completed a Gaisce award while in prison and was due to meet President Michael D Higgins next week.

Sentencing O’Brien to two and a half years in prison, Judge Quinn said the accused had “an appalling record for such a young man.”

The judge said he had carried out an unprovoked assault on an innocent woman in what was “an ugly incident.”

However, he noted that O’Brien had apologised and was remorseful for his actions.

The judge said he would suspend the final 18 months of the prison sentence on condition that O’Brien kept the peace on his release, while also engaging with the Probation Service as well as with drug treatment, training and employment and housing support services.

Judge Quinn said the term in prison could only commence after he had completed a current sentence he was serving for the burglary in Nenagh because the crime was committed while he was out on bail.