A Tuam man suffered permanent injuries to his face after a “vicious” assault on Christmas Eve while he was out on the town.
Alan Cahill (29), from 31 Cois na hAbhainn, Tuam, was sentenced this week at Galway Circuit Court for his part in an assault on Stephen Murphy (43) in Tuam on Christmas Eve, 2013.
On December 24, 2013 at 3:45am, Cahill was one of three men who attacked Mr. Murphy outside a chinese restaurant on High Street in Tuam.
Murphy was out socialising with his partner that night after getting off work at midnight, they’d been at a nightclub earlier before going to get something to eat.
Garda Frank Fahy gave evidence to the court that inside the restaurant, Murphy and his partner were involved in a separate, unrelated disturbance with different man.
Garda Fahy said that Cahill was sneering at Mr. Murphy while this was happening, and after the other man left he got into an argument with the couple, during which Murphy’s partner attempted to punch him.
As Mr. Murphy and his partner were leaving the restaurant afterwards, they were attacked from behind and knocked to the ground by Cahill and two other men.
Garda Fahy said that witnesses saw Cahill kicking Mr. Murphy in the head, face, and body while he was on the ground, causing serious injuries.
As a result of the assault Mr. Murphy suffered fractures to his facial bones and eye socket which required corrective surgery, but still left him with permanent damage to his face.
Judge Rory McCabe said that this was an all too familiar situation, a case of “too much alcohol and too little control,” describing the attack as “nasty, cowardly and vicious.”
Mr. Murphy did not appear in court to give evidence, but in a written impact statement he said that he was unable to work regularly for almost two years after the attack because of medication he was taking for anxiety and depression he suffered afterwards.
Despite this Mr. Murphy said that he didn’t want to stop Cahill from living his life, a compassionate stance that both the defence and Judge McCabe paid tribute to.
A lawyer for the defence said that Cahill was highly remorseful about the assault and offered €10,000 in compensation to Mr. Murphy regardless of any sentencing, which was accepted by the victim.
Since 2013, the court heard, Cahill moved to London where he lived with his ling term partner prior to his arrest and was working as a chef while training to be a restaurant manager.
Garda Fahy confirmed to the court that Cahill has not come to the attention of the Gardaí or the Metropolitan Police in London since.
Cahill’s employer, restaurant owner Richard Corrigan, was in court to testify about Cahill’s character since he came to work for him.
He said that he has known many people who are aggressive and lack focus, but Cahill has become a valued part of his company.
While on bail here in Ireland Cahill has been working at Mr. Corrigan’s business in Cavan, Viriginia Park Lodge, and Mr. Corrigan told the court that Cahill’s job in London would be waiting for him after the case and any sentence he received.
Judge McCabe said that this assault was at the “top of the scale” for similar offences. The victim impact statement showed a stark effect on Mr. Murphy’s life, and in almost all other cases he would impose immediate incarceration.
However, the judge considered in mitigation Cahill’s earlier plea of guilty along with his apparent decision to turn his life around, and the compassion that Mr. Murphy expressed in his statement.
Judge McCabe said that in this case rehabilitation should be the court’s primary goal and imposed a four year suspended sentence.