A man who carried out a one punch attack after the victim bumped into the buggy his child was in has been sentenced to two years in prison with six months suspended.
William Harty, with an address at 3 Glenville Estate, Dunmore Road, Waterford was charged at Kilkenny Circuit Court with assault causing harm for the offence committed on April 5 of last year on the High Street in Kilkenny.
The case was due to be heard on June 29 but Mr Harty did not show and a bench warrant was issued and he has been in custody since July 15 in relation to the matter.
The court heard on the day of the attack the victim – who is in his 60s - was leaving a retail store on the High Street at around 1.15pm on the date in question when he accidentally bumped into a child’s buggy.
Mr Harty, 22, walked down the street after the man and punched him in the face. The victim suffered a deep jagged laceration to his lip and had an abrasion over his nose.
Mr Harty was identified as the attacker from CCTV footage. Medical evidence and photographs of the injuries sustained to the victim were handed into court.
The victim also fell forward and hit the ground after the punch to the face but the medical evidence revealed there was no report of loss of consciousness and no loose teeth.
The court heard on April 5 of last year, the day the offence took place, Mr Harty was convicted of burglary but was given a six month suspended sentence for eighteen months provided he entered into a bond to be of good behaviour.
Prosecuting barrister, Cephas Power, said Mr Harty had just left the courthouse before he carried out the assault and “breached the suspension within minutes of entering the bond”. Mr Harty was arrested for the offence on June 6 of last year and when arrested he stated: “I done it because he fell on top of a buggy.”
Defence counsel for Mr Harty, Patrick O’Riordan, said his client had just been released from custody and the victim bumped off the buggy in which Mr Harty’s child was in. Mr Harty was suffering “withdrawals from heroin” on the date of the offence after having been just released from prison and “everything was a daze”.
The court heard Mr Harty has a “dreadful background” and Mr O’Riordan said there was no weapon or glass used and it was a “one punch case”. A Probation Services report found Mr Harty at a “high risk of re-offending”.
Mr Harty is from Kilkenny but is living in Waterford and has a number of previous convictions which include offences like criminal damage and theft. The court heard that the “revolving door custodial system” was not working for him and that whatever sentence was imposed he was “eager and anxious” to work with the Probation Services.
He is going to school currently in Cork Prison and is attending classes on a “regular basis”. He is also working in a woodwork shop and has been occupying himself gainfully.
The 22-year-old – who has been in and out of custody since he was twelve – married when he was sixteen and has two children aged four and three.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said the circumstances of this case are “quite simply disgraceful” and described it as an unprovoked attack on a vulnerable person.
He said the victim had entered Mr Harty’s space as the defendant saw it and decided the “only way to deal with it was with a vicious punch resulting in a man falling to the ground”.
Judge O’Callaghan said thankfully there was no fatal injuries “as can happen in these situations” and the offence happened “quite brazenly” 30 minutes after Mr Harty left Kilkenny Courthouse.
He added that Mr Harty was “oblivious as to whether this man was okay or not, you just left him on the ground” and that no matter what the victim did there was no excuse for Mr Harty’s reaction.
Judge O’Callaghan sentenced Mr Harty to two years in prison with the last six months suspended with a view to incentivising Mr Harty’s rehabilitation and he must also be of good behaviour while in custody and under the supervision of the Probation Services.
The custodial sentence was backdated to July 15 of this year.