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Father jailed for attacking man with claw hammer in restaurant after insult to his daughter

A father-of-six who attacked a man with a claw hammer in a family restaurant, subjecting diners to "a violent and frightening experience" has been jailed for 18 months.

Martin Maughan (28) attacked Michael Reilly in a Nandos restaurant after he saw a post on Facebook showing that Reilly was in the restaurant.

Maughan of Sillogue Green, Ballymun pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr Reilly at Omni Park Shopping Centre, Santry on May 7, 2017 and to producing a hammer as a weapon.

Garda Daniel Lynch told Una Tighe BL, prosecuting, that Maughan said he carried out the assault as Reilly had verbally insulted his daughter, who suffers from spina bifida, on a previous occasion.

"My daughter is in a wheelchair. He (Reilly) said she had crooked legs and a twisted spine. I said I'd get him for it and get justice for her," Maughan told gardaí during an interview.

Garda Lynch said Maughan confronted Reilly in the restaurant, striking him a number of times in the body with the claw hammer.

When Reilly attempted to flee, Maughan chased him through the kitchen, into the car park, where he hit him with the hammer again and used pepper spray on him.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said the defendant, who has has 15 previous convictions, was fortunate not to be before the court on more serious charges.

However, he said a terrible insult was made.

He said his client had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity and had taken steps to address his alcohol addiction.

"His very tightly knit family have been in court each day with him and they share the misery of what he did," he said.

Sentencing Maughan, Judge Melanie Greally asked him to give an oral undertaking that he would stay away from Reilly's family upon his release.

Judge Greally said it was understandable Maughan was angry when his daughter was insulted, but his actions went well beyond anything that could be justified.

She said a particularly alarming aspect of the evidence was that Maughan had chosen a family restaurant for the perpetration of a violent assault.

Judge Greally gave him credit for his guilty plea, his remorse and the background leading up to the assault.

She said the defendant's problem with alcohol no doubt underpinned many of his previous offences, which include assault, public order and possession of knives.

Judge Greally said she was encouraged that Maughan had applied himself well to his addiction and anger issues in custody and had made genuine attempts to reform.

She sentenced him to three years in prison with the final 18 months suspended, and directed that he complete anger management, an offending behaviour programme and an addiction programme while in custody.

Judge Greally ordered that Maughan have no contact with the Reilly family for a period of ten years.