Violent, gratuitous and cowardly were three of the words the sentencing judge used to describe attacks on a 77-year-old man and a 64-year-old man by a much stronger, younger man.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin sentenced Damien O’Brien to a total of four years in jail in respect of the two incidents where the charges included assault causing harm.
Detective Garda Liam Lynch gave evidence against Damien O’Brien, who is in his mid-30s and of no fixed address, in respect of the assault causing harm that was carried out on May 13 2019 at Liberty Street, Cork.
“A 77-year-old man who lives in sheltered accommodation in the area was on his way home and was passing the church.
“He was punched in the side of the head and he fell to the ground breaking his left hip.
“He remained on the ground for 40 minutes. He was subsequently operated on in hospital.
“Damien O’Brien would make no admissions. He was not cooperative despite being identified on CCTV.
“The injured party had to get an amount of physiotherapy,” Det. Garda Lynch said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The injured party was not present in court and did not wish to be present, the detective said.
Detective Garda Aidan Noonan gave evidence of the second assault in which O’Brien was involved and to which he pleaded guilty.
It occurred on December 22 2019 at Drawbridge Street where he opened the front passenger door of a car stopped in traffic and got in.
He made a demand of the driver to be taken to a particular location.
The driver got out of his own car and the defendant then climbed into the driver’s seat. When he realised the driver had taken the key from the ignition he ran after him. The driver ran back to his car where there was a violent struggle as O’Brien head-butted the 64-year-old motorist.
Passers-by witnessing the attack tried to apprehend the defendant but he broke free and ran away.
O’Brien came back moments later and tried unsuccessfully to get into another car.
Garda Noonan said the injured party was terrified and feared for his safety.
One of the witnesses captured the entire incident on a mobile phone video.
Defence barrister Emmet Boyle said the accused was under the influence of drugs and now realised he would be coming back before the courts again and again if did not address his addiction.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the main mitigating factor was the plea of guilty which spared the injured parties having to come to court.