02 Dec 2021

Punch ‘lifted me off the ground’ says victim of violent attack in Kilkenny City

The case was before Kilkenny Circuit Court

Kilkenny Courthouse

Kilkenny Courthouse

A man convicted of assault - after an incident where he punched another man in the face lifting him off the ground - has been given a suspended sentence and must do 200 hours of community service.

John McCarthy, with an address at 4 St Enda’s Terrace, Paulstown was charged with a Section 3 assault causing harm at the Canal Walk in Kilkenny City on May 26 of 2016.

The court heard Mr McCarthy – whose sport is boxing - delivered one punch to the victim’s face after the injured party called him a “knacker”. The victim said Mr McCarthy, 21, “lifted me off the ground with the punch” and up off his feet.

The attack also prompted the victim – who suffers from epilepsy – to have two seizures after the assault and he was hospitalised for the night.

Giving evidence, Sgt Alma Molloy said Mr McCarthy was arrested in connection with the incident on November 11 and made a full admission to the assault.

He was having words with his girlfriend at the time and was frustrated when the victim intervened.

Mr McCarthy told Gardaí that he was talking to a few friends and the victim “stuck his nose into my business and he got a bit cheeky and called me a knacker”.

Mr McCarthy walked off to cool down and said sorry to the victim two days after and told him “he shouldn’t have called me a knacker”.

In a victim impact statement read out in court on behalf of the victim, the court heard that he has “suffered nightmares since the assault and flashbacks” and the hearing in his right ear has also been affected, he claimed. He also feels nervous around Kilkenny or Carlow.

The court heard both the defendant and the victim suffer from learning difficulties and Mr McCarthy is a member of the travelling community.

A witness described how the defendant hit the victim “because he called him a knacker” and this would be an insult, the court heard.

Sgt Molloy said the victim has stayed away from Kilkenny quite a lot since the incident and has quietened down a lot since.

She said the allegation is that the victim called the defendant names but she was not sure of that and added: “As to calling people names, I don’t know.”

Defence counsel for Mr McCarthy said the attack involved two people with similar disabilities and there was “one single punch”.

A probation report before the court revealed Mr McCarthy is from Kilkenny City and lived with his grandparents until he was 18.

Judge Patrick Meghen accepted that the incident was on the lower end of the scale and both men were known to each other and suffer from learning difficulties.

“The victim intervened in a dispute between the defendant and his girlfriend, there’s a suggestion the victim called him a name, whether he did or not, there is no reason for assault,” he said.

He acknowledged that the victim has been suffering from flashbacks and nightmares and has not been around Kilkenny.

Judge Meghen said the assault carried a headline sentence of eighteen months but the mitigating factors were the defendant’s co-operation and his early plea and lack of previous convictions.

Judge Meghen suspended the sentence in its entirety for two years and imposed a sanction of 200 hours community service.

Mr McCarthy must also follow any direction and complete any courses as directed by the Probation Services.

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