A middle-aged man got into a verbal exchange with a group of teenagers hanging around outside a fast-food outlet and one of them gave him a single punch which has had a life-changing effect on the victim.
Now at Cork Circuit Criminal Court the assailant, who was 16 years old, has been given a three-year suspended jail sentence on the charge of assault causing harm.
Judge Helen Boyle noted that the accused had engaged very positively with an anger management programme, as had been previously required of him.
The victim of the attack said, “I was assaulted in the village where I live. I woke up in a hospital bed in CUH surround by my close family. I struggled to understand what was happening.
“I had been in a coma for a number of days and nights. My skull was fractured in two places. I was in intensive car for seven nights afterwards.
“The chain of events continues to have a profound impact on me and my family.
“The dark days when I retreat into my own head are regular. The constant fear – which I never had – is daily now – locking and double-locking doors, fearing for my safety.
“To sum up, the after effects of this life-changing assault are truly devastating and constant.” Defence senior counsel said CCTV showed a number of exchanges between the juvenile and the injured party prior to the assault and that the injured party is seen pushing the teenager who reacts with a single punch. Ms Lankford said that unfortunately, the consequences of his punch were very serious.
Det. Garda Pat Connery said the injured party was knocked to the ground and his head hit the ground, as a result of which he was unconscious with a traumatic head injury.
Ms Lankford SC said sentencing had been adjourned previously for the accused to attend an anger management programme. She said that not alone had the youth down this but he had engaged in fulsome and active manner.
“He now continues to work and has made himself a useful member of society. It is not just pious words on his part, he is addressing the difficulties that brought him to court in the first instance,” the defence senior counsel said.
Asking for a completely suspended sentence she referred to the fact that he was extremely young when he committed the offence.