A KNIFE attack was carried out on a man who was half asleep in his bed at an apartment in Cobh by another man operating under the paranoid belief that the victim had planned to kill him.
Eamonn Cournane, aged 47, who now lives at Chandlers Walk, Rushbrooke Manor, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to another man in his 40s at their apartment at West Beach, Cobh, shortly before 3am on February 2, 2020.
Detective Sergeant Tony O’Flynn said gardaí were called to the apartment that morning and met the injured party who told them he had been assaulted by his flatmate, Cournane.
“A knife with blood on it was found in the hallway. He said he was half asleep in the bedroom when Mr Cournane came in and assaulted him.
“There had been some drinking. Eamonn Cournane said he had two cannabis joints that night. He said he went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and he heard a conversation between the injured party and another resident — there were four people in the apartment that night — and he said he heard the injured party saying that he [Cournane] was going to be killed.
“He [Cournane] went and got a knife and went to the injured party’s bedroom.
“The injured party was stabbed in the right forearm and that was a serious injury and he also sustained other superficial stab wounds.
“When gardaí arrived, Mr Cournane said he had to get the injured party before he [the injured party] got him,” Sgt O’Flynn said.
Stephen O’Donoghue, defence barrister, said the accused had been cooperating with doctors in treating him for mental health issues and was taking all the medication prescribed for him.
The accused was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Prosecution barrister, Donal McCarthy, said the State’s position was that if the accused man followed the recommendations of those treating him for his mental health issues, there would be no State objection to a suspended sentence being imposed.
Mr O’Donoghue, for the defence, added that the defendant would have no difficulty giving an undertaking to stay away from the injured party.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “Given what was going on in Mr Cournane’s head at the time, it is worrying.
“His doctor has given a very extensive report on his problems going back to the early 2000s. He was diagnosed with a mental disorder of paranoid schizophrenia. He was suffering from that at the time.”
Mr O’Donoghue said he had discussed the law in this area with the accused and the provision for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, and he said Cournane did not want to take that position and was clear he was entering a full plea of guilty to the charge of assault causing harm and possession of a knife at the time.
The judge said it now appeared the defendant was cooperative with treatment and no longer had a problem with taking alcohol or illicit substances.
The two-year sentence was suspended on condition that the accused would keep the peace for three years.