A man who committed a ‘dastardly act’ with an unprovoked attack on another man, has been handed a suspended prison sentence at Kilkenny Circuit Court.
The assault occurred while people were enjoying late-night, St Patrick’s Day festivities.
It may have been ‘sheer good luck’ that the victim of the assault was not more seriously injured, a judge said. The defendant was charged with assault causing harm.
Sergeant Morgan O’Connor told the court that on March 17, 2019, at 11.40pm in the Left Bank bar’s night club section, there were a large number of people in attendance. The injured party was with his brother and cousin when William Duggan approached him.
Mr Duggan, Glebe House, Kylisk, Toomevara, Tipperary, had no conversation and no interaction with the injured man before he simply walked up and head butted him into the nose.
The man fell back onto the ground and Mr Duggan stood over him, punching him in the face while he was on the ground.
One of the people with the injured man tried to pull Mr Duggan off, but was unsuccessful.
The punching lasted for 30 to 40 seconds. Enough time that the doormen had to come and assist the injured man’s friends to remove Mr Duggan.
The injured man was unconscious on the ground and bleeding from the nose.
Sgt O’Connor viewed CCTV from multiple cameras in the bar and could clearly ascertain what happened.
The sergeant said it was a ‘completely unprovoked attack’.
An ambulance took the injured man to St Luke’s General Hospital. On the way he vomited because of the amount of blood in his oesophagus, and passed out again.
Medical reports were handed in to court outlining that the injured man had to have a CT scan on his spine. There were no bone injuries but he did sustain tissue injuries. He also sustained a ‘broken nose’ and required realignment.
The man missed some time at work while he recovered. He has been left with a permanent bump on his nose.
Mr Duggan was arrested that night. It took several attempts to arrange an appointment for him to come to Kilkenny Garda Station.
There were six previous convictions recorded against him.
Barrister Kenneth Kearns, defending, said Mr Duggan’s previous convictions were largely alcohol related. He has not come to garda attention since.
He described the incident as ‘inexplicable’.
Mr Duggan, he said, is 27 and was a ‘very foolish young man.’ He had brought compensation to court to offer to the injured man.
A probation report had been positive, the barrister added.
Noel Duggan, the defendant’s father, said at the time his son was ‘going a little bit astray’ but he was more than surprised when he heard about this incident. Since then his son has ‘turned a corner’. He has stopped drinking and improved his life. He is of great assistance with the family farm and business.
Mr Duggan senior said his son doesn’t know why he went up to a total stranger and attacked him. It seemed to be ‘a blackout moment’. He can’t handle drink and now attends AA.
Mr Kerins said no excuse was being offered for the ‘dastardly act’.
He asked the court to take into account that his client has turned his life around. He is embarrassed and had asked his barrister to express his remorse in court.
Judge Cormac Quinn said he had read the victim impact statement and was taking into account the effect on the injured party. There can be no excuse in these cases, he said.
The injured man did nothing to attract the attention of Mr Duggan and ‘it may well have been sheer fortitude and good luck’ the man was not more seriously or fatally injured.
Judge Quinn convicted Mr Duggan of assault causing harm and sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment, to be suspended in full for two years, to ensure he continues to rehabilitate and deal with his drink problem, and on condition he enter a peace bond for two years and pay €5,000 in compensation to the injured man.
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