A teenager listening to music on headphones while walking to a morning gym session in Cork city was attacked from behind by a man experiencing a psychotic episode.
Jordan Waters, 22, with an address at Mount St. Joseph’s Drive, Gurranabraher, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying out an assault causing harm on the teenager at 11.30 in the morning.
Garda Gary Purtill interviewed Waters in relation to the complaint by the teenager that he had been assaulted in a totally unprovoked attack as he walked past The Residence Bar near the top of Blarney Street.
“l had a psychotic episode. I thought this young fella was staring at me. I hit him a dig. I had no knife. I thought he was staring at me. I could not control myself. I hit him a dig,” Waters said when interviewed.
The injured party, who was only 16 at the time, said by video link from a room at the Anglesea Street courthouse, “I was going down to the gym to go training. I got to The Residence. I had earphones. I was attacked by a man. He pulled a knife out of a pocket so I ran.
“It was non-provoked. He hit me a few times in the neck. He drew me a kick. I got into a stance – a fighting stance to defend myself. That is when he produced the knife so I ran,” he testified.
Waters pleaded guilty to the charge of assault causing harm. But he was put on trial by judge and jury when he pleaded not guilty to the charge of producing a knife.
Waters completely denied ever having a knife.
At the close of the prosecution case, defence barrister, Donal O’Sullivan said the CCTV shown to the jury showed no knife being produced.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin agreed to direct the jury to find the accused not guilty by direction on the knife charge.
Waters had told gardaí when he was questioned by gardaí that they did not find any knife in his possession. And he added, “It is my words against his – it won’t stand up in court.”
The judge was told that Waters had mental health issues that extended to self-harm. Judge Ó Donnabháin said that a system was not available for the support of the accused in the community.
“It (such a system) might be of benefit to the accused, it might be of benefit to the public but it is not there and I am not in a position to invent it.
“This was an unprovoked assault. The victim was minding his own business when out of the blue he was punched and kicked in a fairly frightening manner. To protect himself he had to run away.
“It is a very upsetting thing to think you are walking along the street and you are put upon in this manner. He says he did it in a psychotic episode. Whatever about his episodes he was reliable in his account of what happened,” the judge said.
Jordan Waters was sentenced to nine months in prison – backdated to April 8 when he went into custody.