A Dublin man has been sentenced to eight years in prison, with the final two suspended, for a string of unprovoked, violent attacks on friends and strangers over a period of several years.
Kevin Joyce (25) of Mourne Court in Skerries, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to offences on six different bills committed between May 2017 and January 2021, when he was taken into custody.
Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday, Judge Melanie Greally said the offences were all “unprovoked, random acts of violence” and included one act of “sustained and persistent sexual violence”.
Judge Greally said her sentence reflected the multiplicity and seriousness of the offences, and the fact that many of them were committed while Joyce was on bail.
She said Joyce was now on the Sex Offenders’ Register and was deemed at moderate to high risk of sexual re-offending, but said he was “still a young man with potential” who was extremely ashamed and remorseful.
The court heard that in May 2017, Joyce assaulted his friend, knocking him to the ground and then punching him in the face. The victim’s jaw was fractured and required metal plates to be inserted.
In August 2017, Joyce punched his friend Ronan Murphy in the face and stomach, knocking him to the ground before kicking his head and body in a sustained assault. He also tried to poke Mr Murphy in the eyes with his fingers. Mr Murphy suffered a broken nose, a black eye and cracked ribs.
When Mr Murphy’s friend John Leyden tried to intervene, he in turn was punched in the face by Joyce.
Assaults on bail
A later offence saw Joyce assaulting three young people on the way home from celebrating their exams, while he was on bail for the previous offences. Judge Greally said Joyce made intimidatory and abusive demands for money before becoming violent, punching one man with force, and stealing a phone.
The court heard that during an attack on a woman in a public park in a north Dublin town, Joyce tried to remove the woman’s undergarments, to touch her sexually and to punch her.
On March 1st, 2020, Joyce approached a man on Grafton Street entirely at random, punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground, breaking the man’s jaw and fracturing his eye socket.
On January 12th, 2021, Joyce attacked a friend in their own home using a bottle, knocking the person unconscious and causing eye injuries which required hospitalisation.
On the same date, Joyce threatened a woman in her home, including an extremely graphic threat to “slice her up” and referencing the woman’s former partner who was facing charges concerning her. This gave an “added menace” to the threat, said Judge Greally.
Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, said Joyce has been in custody since January 14th, 2021.
Michael Hourican BL, defending, said a probation report showed Joyce has gained insight into his actions and was making good use of his time in custody.
Judge Greally said it was evident that Joyce was leading a “chaotic existence” at the time of offending, abusing drugs, engaging in anti-social behaviour, homeless and isolated from positive influences.
However, she noted that he had entered early pleas and was resolved to address his difficulties.
The judge ordered Joyce to take part in programmes addressing sexual offending and addiction issues and to engage with probation services for two years on his release. The sentence was backdated to January 2021.