A Longford man who carried out a “vicious, nasty and ill-spirited” assault on another man at a Longford nightclub by pulling an earring out of his victim’s ear with his teeth, has been told to hand over €2,000 in compensation over the next two weeks.
Aidan Carberry, Cartronbrack, Kenagh, Longford was told the four figure sum to be paid to Zak McNamara Bryan was a “token but not the full token” by Judge John Hughes at a sitting of Longford District Court last week.
The 24-year-old structural glazer consumed “in or around ten drinks” on January 1 2019 when he assaulted Mr Bryan at The Spiral Tree, Longford.
Mr Bryan McNamara told the court he had been in the smoking area when a row broke out, resulting in the injury to his ear.
“I just got pulled in and swung around the place and he (defendant) ended up taking a bite out of my ear,” he said.
A medical report was handed in on behalf of the State by Sgt Paddy McGirl, leading Judge Hughes to ask Mr McNamara Bryan to step forward to the bench to allow him see his ear at closer hand.
“The stola of the earring was pulled through the lobe of your ear,” noted the judge, when running his eye over photographs which had been taken at the time.
In defence, solicitor Frank Gearty said his client could not be more remorseful over what had occurred.
“This man is very sorry for what he did to you,” said Mr Gearty, stating nonetheless his client had also been dragged into the row in the moments leading up to the fracas.
“He was not the perpetrator in any way and in the course of that he caught your ear and pulled the stud out with his teeth and for that he is enormously regretful.”
In listening to the mitigation being offered up by Mr Gearty on behalf of his client, Judge Hughes declared he would be accepting jurisdiction on the Section 3 assault charge, meaning the case could be dealt with at District Court level and not in the higher Circuit Court.
Judge Hughes also asked Mr McNamara Bryan, a student in Galway, whether he had incurred any medical expenses and if he had sought out any counselling as a consequence.
“It has had a significant effect on you and it continues to do so,” asked the judge, a question to which Mr McNamara Bryan simply replied: “Yes.”
Mr Gearty said while Mr Carberry had consumed a large quantity of alcohol on the night and become embroiled in a row not of his own making, he nonetheless owed Mr McNamara Bryan a public apology.
And, in an effort to illustrate that remorse, Mr Gearty added his client had gathered together €1500 by way of compensation through his work as a structural glazer in Manchester.
Mr Gearty said he hoped to have a further €500 to add to that total by the following Friday and was intent on handing the sum total over to his victim as a “no strings attached” payment.
The local solicitor said whatever about Mr Carberry’s actions on the night, they were very much “out of character” for a man who hailed from a well respected family who were steeped in the wider Bord na Mona fabric of the area for generations.
“He also went down to the Garda Station by appointment and made a statement of acknowledgement straight away,” added Mr Gearty.
Judge Hughes said irregardless of those comments, there were broader questions as to the lack of prosecutions which were coming before the courts of publicans being charged under the intoxicating liquors laws.
In turning to Mr Carberry directly, Judge Hughes added: “He (Mr McNamara Bryan) woke up and started his new year with a physical injury and let alone that had to face into the toughest exam in his life that his career depended on and after that he had to be screened to see if he had picked up any disease or infection from you which took weeks.”
Mr Gearty said there was no denying the seriousness of the incident, saying the embarrassment of it all was not lost on him.
“It is very disappointing for him to be standing here,” remarked Mr Gearty.
Judge Hughes said he was mindful of how Mr Carberry had come to court with compensation, but warned him he would have to dig deeper into his pockets.
“Whilst the sum of €2,000 is a token, it is not the full token,” said the judge.
He also raised the prospect of both Mr Carberry and Mr McNamara Bryan partaking in a ‘restorative justice programme’ provided the latter was willing and comfortable to do so.
However, he warned Mr Carberry that should the ensuing report from his ruling prove unfavourable, the court would come down hard on him.
“The distinguishing factor in this case is that others were involved (in the row),” he said.
“It was a nasty, ill spirited, mean and vicious assault.
“The defendant is fortunate the injured party did not sustain a more serious injury.”
Judge Hughes also took time to advise Mr Carberry to dwell on his actions before opting to adjourn the case until the new year.
“You have had since January 1 2019 to put your ducks in a row and while you might have had the stress of coming to court, he (victim) shouldn’t have had to come to court at all.
“Let’s see how the restorative justice programme goes because I am promising you nothing,” he told him.
The case was put back to a sitting of Longford District Court on January 28 2020.