CITIZENS of Cork should be able to walk through the city without fear of being assaulted or even having to witness one, a Circuit Court judge declared.
Judge Helen Boyle made this comment at the sentencing hearing for a man who pleaded guilty to his part in an assault on another man outside McDonald’s on Daunt Square in Cork city centre.
Daniel Whittington of 73 Mount Eden Road, Gurranabraher, had his case before Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing a number of times but it was adjourned to consider the defence submissions in the case.
Defence barrister Dermot Sheehan emphasised the absence of any previous conviction of this kind against the defendant.
Mr Sheehan said the defendant was anxious about the impact that an assault conviction would have for him in relation to his career prospects.
The barrister suggested that even though a kick in the head was a matter that the court would take seriously, it might be a suitable case for giving the accused the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act.
Mr Sheehan said that as well as pleading guilty to the crime, the accused man had engaged in mediation with the injured party.
Judge Helen Boyle said, “It is accepted this is not a trivial assault but it is also not believed you (the accused) will come before the court again. I accept you are a person of previous good character.”
However, the judge said that there were aggravating factors. The injured party was first pushed to the ground by another person not before the court and that as he was getting up he got a kick in the head from Daniel Whittington.
“Any assault to a person’s head has to be taken seriously by the courts. It can result in catastrophic injuries for a person. Thankfully, it didn’t in this case and the injuries were soft tissue.
“It happened on Daunt Square. The citizens of Cork should be able to walk the streets without being assaulted or witnessing assaults.
“I do not feel I can accede to the request for the Probation Act. I am afraid I don’t think that is appropriate.
“It must be marked by a prison sentence. I measure it at 18 months. However, having regard to the mitigating factors I will suspend the sentence in its entirety,” Judge Boyle said.
The defendant previously pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of assault causing harm to man at Daunt Square on Feb 2, 2020.