Kildare man avoids jail for mistaken identity bike attack

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the victim was completely blameless and was going about his business when attacked
Kildare man avoids jail for mistaken identity bike attack

Declan Brennan

A cyclist who attacked a man he mistakenly thought was trying to steal his bike has been given an 18-month suspended sentence.

Kildare resident Jaroslav Nowakowski (36) pleaded guilty to assaulting Noel Conway causing him harm on Moore St in Dublin city centre on November 3rd, 2019.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the victim was completely blameless and was going about his business when Nowakowski saw him.

Gerardine Small BL, defending, said her client saw Mr Conway with the same bicycle as him and believed he had stolen the bike.

She said that in a written letter her client has expressed shame and sorrow for “his impulsive actions”. She said his reaction was disproportionate but noted that he stayed at the scene after the assault and was genuinely concerned for the victim.

'Split second' decision

She said it is not a case where he set out to injure somebody and that this was a “split second” decision. She asked the court to consider “how morally culpable he was in those few seconds”.

She said that Nowakowski of Priory Way, St Raphaels Manor, Celbridge, Co Kildare has previously contributed in broad terms to the UNICEF charity.

Ms Small told the court that her client had €1,000 in court to offer as an illustration of his remorse. The court heard the injured party, who was present for the sentence hearing, initially did not wish to accept this cash but has now agreed to take it.

Judge Karen O'Connor said she agreed with the probation service report which stated that this was an isolated incident and Nowakowski was unlikely to reoffend.

“This was an unusual set of circumstances,” Judge O'Connor said. She accepted Nowakowski was not someone who is generally violent and that he was remorseful for his actions that day.

She handed down a sentence of 18 months and suspended it on a number of conditions.

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