A young man was sentenced to six months in prison for his part in a nasty assault on another man in Eyre Square last year.
The young man, who cannot be identified as he is a minor, was one of three people who participated in an attack on another man outside Supermacs in 2019.
He pleaded guilty to one count each of Assault Causing Harm and Violent Disorder at Galway Circuit Court on September 28, and was sentenced this week.
Garda Joe Quinn told the court that on May 10, 2019, the victim in this case was outside of Supermacs in Eyre Square when he was attacked without warning.
The injured party had been out socialising and drinking with friends after just finishing his university exams, when he was punched in the back of the head while outside Supermacs.
This knocked him towards the taxi rank, and when he tried to get back to his feet two other males, one of whom was the young person before the court on this occasion, began kicking him repeatedly.
A kick to the face knocked him unconscious, and Garda Quinn said that he had just regained consciousness when they arrived on the scene.
The injured man suffered severe bruising to his head, a swollen nose, broken teeth, and deep cuts above his eyebrow and at the hairline.
Three people were identified on CCTV footage from the area by Gardaí investigating the incident.
When interviewed by Gardaí, the young man before the court, who was 16 at the time of this incident, made full admissions, and identified himself on the footage as one of the people kicking the other man on the ground.
In a victim impact statement which was read into the court, the injured man said that this incident has had a severe impact on him and his family, physically and emotionally.
He is still suffering the physical impacts of the assault after more than a year and a half, with a highly visible scar on his head and difficulty eating certain foods due to the damage to his teeth.
The Donegal man said still suffers recurring nightmares and flashbacks, and found it traumatising to return to Galway to finish his degree.
“It changed me from an unsuspecting, easy-going person to someone who finds it harder to socialise,” he said of the aftermath.
A bystander took a video of the attack, which Garda Quinn said was shared approximately 120,000 times on social media within a few hours. The young man who was attacked said he felt “humiliated” that everyone had seen this.
“Being the victim of a vicious, cowardly and unprovoked assault has certainly taken its toll on me and my family.”
Defence Barrister Conal McCarthy BL said that his client had a very troubled upbringing, and had been in the care of the state for a number of years.
He had been in Galway that day for a medical appointment, and began drinking with two other people after that was complete.
Mr McCarthy added that his client was not the one who initiated this incident by throwing the first punch, and was the youngest of the group by several years.
His client apologised for what he had done during the initial Garda interview, where he admitted to his actions, and pleaded guilty when it came before the court.
Mr McCarthy added that he was instructed to again make a formal apology before the court.
The Circuit Court heard that the defendant has 48 previous convictions, including 15 for assault, and racked up 21 convictions in 2019 alone.
The young defendant has been engaging with the educational services at Oberstown while in custody on these matters the court a report from the detention centre said, and the Probation Service have also indicated that they would be happy to work with him Mr McCarthy said.
The sentencing this month had been put back on several occasions to determine if Oberstown children’s detention facility would be willing to keep the young man past his age of majority so he could continue his education there.
It was indicated this week that they would be willing to do so for a period of up to six months after he turns 18 in November.
At the finalisation of sentencing this week Judge Rory McCabe said that he was sentencing the young man to six months each for the assault and violent disorder, despite having some “reservations” due to the seriousness of the offences and the impact they had on the victim.
image credit: Robert Linsdell CC BY 2.0 ‘The Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Galway’