Judge Kevin Kilrane spoke at a recent sitting of Ballyshannon District Court of the risk of killing someone from even a single blow.
He was hearing a case where a 22 year-old county hurler head-butted another man during a night out in Bundoran on May 23 last, damaging the victim’s nose.
The victim Mr Aidan McCafferty told last Friday's sitting of the court that he was at a Reserve Defence Forces camp in Finner last summer. On the last night of the camp a group went out to Bundoran. They were waiting for taxis after attending Paris nightclub when the incident occurred. He said he had attended the ENT in Sligo and still had difficulty breathing through his right nostril. The court heard that he had to get two stitches to his nose at the time.
The defendant Jack Mathews (22) of 15 Lawne Park, Ballyshannon admitted that he head-butted the victim. He told the court there was an argument between his friends and the other group.
“I shouldn’t have done it,” he said. “I didn’t mean to harm anybody.”
Judge Kevin Kilrane asked the defendant how he could head-butt someone and then say he didn’t mean to harm them.
Solicitor for the defence Ms Florence Hutchinson told the court that her client said he was ‘well intoxicated’ at the time. He had since returned to hurling and was training at club and county level. This had brought his drinking under control as there was a ‘certain attitude’ to drink in the club.
“He is mortally embarrassed and sorry,” said Ms Hutchinson.
Judge Kevin Kilrane said the defendant had previously received a caution and been spoken to by Gardaí for alcohol related problems.
“On the night in question with malice and aforethought he head-butted the victim,” said Judge Kilrane. “He says he is sorry but he was sorry after the event. A young man in County Leitrim was struck to the ground and killed by a similar type of blow. When a person is hit like this they fall to the ground and if the blow itself does not injure them then the fall to the ground can.”
He imposed a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years on the defendant’s own bond of €100 on the condition that he commit no public order offence.
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