A MAN who was sleeping with a young woman at her home was woken in the middle of the night by her ex-partner who arrived in the bedroom and punched him the face.
A jury was sworn in for the trial of Stephen O’Flaherty of 9 Buckley’s Terrace, Boyce’s Street, Cork, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court but as it was about to proceed today the accused pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to the young man.
Defence senior counsel Elizabeth O’Connell said there was no question of the accused breaking into the house and that he had access to it and simply walked in by the back door.
Ms O’Connell SC said today, “He walks upstairs. From his position he sees a situation where his partner or ex-partner is in bed with a man he did not know and his reaction is very much in that context.”
Detective Sergeant Kieran O’Sullivan said, “Exactly. The relationship was over. He came home to find his ex-partner in bed with someone else and it escalated from there.”
The defence lawyer said, “He was reacting to a situation that was extremely inflammatory and difficult and would be very difficult for many people."
Ms O’Connell said that unusually the defendant did not begin to get into trouble until last year when he was 23.
The man who was assaulted in bed by O’Flaherty managed to get down the stairs of the house at Old Youghal Road in Cork.
His phone went missing during the incident but with the help of a taxi driver, he got to safety and reported the assault to gardaí on the night on April 6.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said, “This is his third Section 3 (assault causing harm offence), which to put it mildly, is disconcerting. You had separated from your partner six months earlier and it was still causing difficulty for innocent people minding their own business.
“You were facing an unexpected situation from your point of view. You did not pre-meditate or pre-plan this but nor did the victim expect to be assaulted like this. You are lucky he has been very fair to you in his victim impact statement. In mitigation, the court notes your strong and impressive work record.
“It was an impulsive and vicious reaction to a challenging personal circumstance. But if everyone reacted like that I am afraid what the world would turn into.”
The judge imposed a sentence of 18 months with the last 12 months suspended. The actual sentence of six months today was made consecutive to the 12 months imposed a fortnight ago for another assault.
The same judge also dealt with the defendant earlier this month where he jailed him for a year for assault causing harm to another man.
During that sentencing hearing, Judge O’Callaghan said O’Flaherty, aged 24, had engaged in a vicious and brutal assault on a 46-year-old man whom he attacked in McDonald’s in Winthrop St in Cork on December 17, 2017.
Sgt Colin Greenwood told how the injured party in that case was out socialising and had gone with his friends to McDonalds at around 3.45am on the day in question and was returning from the toilet when he encountered O’Flaherty.
O’Flaherty was having a row with his girlfriend and the injured party asked her was she alright whereupon O’Flaherty attacked him, knocking him to the ground and striking him some 16 times with his arms, elbows and knees.
Mr O’Mahony was dazed and confused but he managed to pick himself up and he approached O’Flaherty to ask him what the assault had been about when O’Flaherty kneed him in the head and head-butted him in the face.
Two security men apprehended O’Flaherty and were escorting him from McDonald’s when he broke free and threw a single punch at Mr O’Mahony knocking him to the ground in what was a third separate attack.