Jail for Cork man who struck father with hatchet in row over barking dog 

“The victim impact statement makes for very sad reading, that all of these injuries were caused by his own son." 
Jail for Cork man who struck father with hatchet in row over barking dog 

The man has been sentenced to two years with the last six months suspended.

A Cork man struck his father with a hatchet during a late-night attack sparked by an argument over a barking dog.

Garda Seán Murphy responded to a call to the house at St. James’s Square, off Barrack Street, Cork, and arrived to find the accused standing at the front door and the victim in a foetal position at the end of the stairs, having been struck with the weapon.

This occurred on August 24 2019. Now at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, 34-year-old Michael O’Donovan, who was living at that address at St. James’s Square, has been sentenced to two years in prison with the last six months suspended.

Defence barrister, Alan O’Dwyer, said, “It was a dispute over his father annoying the dog. Michael O’Donovan was in bed when his father returned home. He felt that his father was annoying the dog and that the dog started barking.” 

Mr O’Dwyer said there was no history of rows between father and son and that this was something that got out of control with unforeseen results.

“There never was a cross word between them before. 

"And this argument between them escalated,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Judge Helen Boyle said, “You pleaded on the trial date, albeit you had communicated with your lawyers, that you would not be taking up the trial date.

“In February you were released to go to Bruree for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, you attended only for a short time – about ten days – and a bench warrant had to be issued for your arrest.” 

The accused ended up remanded in custody pending sentence.

His father has forgiven him and prays for him every day, it emerged at the sentencing hearing. The judge noted that the implement used by the accused was variously referred to as a hatchet or a camping axe. Following the assault, the defendant’s father had to be taken to Cork University Hospital and treated for his injuries, which consisted of bruises, abrasions and a rib fracture.

“You have 25 previous convictions - none for crimes of violence. It appears that this was out of character. Your father confirmed there never was a cross word between you.

“If you had given Bruree more of a chance you might have done better. It appears you are living a drug and alcohol-free life. You are 34 years old and you apologised to your father (59).

“The victim impact statement makes for very sad reading, that all of these injuries were caused by his own son. 

"He feared for his life. Afraid he would lose his relationship with you.

"He has recovered and forgives you and prays for you every day,” Judge Boyle said.

The defendant’s former landlady was shocked at his out of character behaviour. She wrote to him in prison, indicating she would be happy to have him back. The judge noted this and also the fact that the defendant wrote back to the lady – and it was the first letter he had ever written to anyone.

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