Woman avoids jail for attacking man she thought was a rapist

Zara McCabe (34) pleaded guilty to assault causing harm on Fleet Street on November 4th, 2020
Woman avoids jail for attacking man she thought was a rapist

Sonya McLean

A woman who assaulted a homeless man because she wrongly believed he had raped someone she knew has been asked to carry out community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

Zara McCabe (34), of Brookview Drive, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on Fleet Street, Dublin 2 on November 4th, 2020.

She has 21 previous convictions including assault, threats, intoxication in a public place and road traffic offences.

The court heard there was no medical report in relation to the victim as, although he was taken to hospital by ambulance, he did not sign a consent form to release his medical report and discharged himself the following day. The victim died by suicide a week later.

It was accepted that McCabe, a mother of five, was highly intoxicated and in poor mental health on the night and wrongly believed the man had raped a woman she knew.

McCabe later said she went through the victim’s pockets after the assault because she was trying to find his phone to take a photo of him to show the woman.

Community service

Passing sentence this week, Judge Martin Nolan ordered McCabe to carry out 150 hours community service in lieu of a two-year prison term.

“You are getting a considerable chance,” Judge Nolan told McCabe.

“What you did on the night was disgraceful to this poor man. If you re-offend you, will go to jail, simple as that. It was totally wrong. He had a tough enough life without you attacking him,” the judge said.

Judge Nolan said it was not clear what injuries the man sustained but it seems he had cuts to his body.

“He was taken to hospital and didn’t stay long. This poor man had an unfortunate life and an unfortunate end,” the judge said.

He said McCabe had wrongly thought this man had raped the woman which he said was “more based on her condition than the objective facts of the situation,” before he acknowledged that she was drunk and had probably taken drugs.

He acknowledged she had a record of conviction and long-standing alcohol and addictive problems. He said McCabe had a “very unfortunate family life” before he noted that her children are in care and she has been subjected to other forms of abuse over the years.

Judge Nolan acknowledged that McCabe is “on an upward curve at the moment” and has secured work in a warehouse since last November.

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