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22 May 2022

Longford teen jailed for six months for 'vicious and unprovoked' attack on dog walker

Longford teen jailed for six months for 'vicious and unprovoked' attack on dog walker

Paddy Rodgers being led away from a previous court sitting

A teenager accused of a "vicious and unprovoked" assault on a man in his late 50s who was walking his dog has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Paddy Rodgers (19), with addresses at 43 Farnagh, Longford and West House Cafe, Lisanurlan, Longford, appeared before Judge Marie Keane at Longford District Court this morning.

Reading through the charges, and examining photographs of the victim, Judge Keane accepted jurisdiction and was furnished with a comprehensive psychiatric report. A victim impact statement prepared by the injured party was also handed in.

Sgt Mark Mahon explained to the court that, on Sunday, July 25, 2021, the injured party had left his premises on Main Street shortly after 8pm, as he has done every night for 40 years, to walk his dog.

"He went into a field like he always does and he saw a couple under a tree," said Sgt Mahon.

"He was on his phone and he kept walking past. He was then confronted by the male who accused him of taking pictures of the couple on his phone."

There was an argument between the two, the court heard, and the injured party picked up Mr Rodgers' runners and threw them in the river.

The injured party was then struck a number of times by the accused, resulting in a visit to Midoc and an overnight stay in hospital where he received treatment before being released on Monday afternoon.

Solicitor for the defence, Fiona Baxter explained that her client has been in custody on this matter since July of this year.

"When questioned by Gardaí, he was fully cooperative. He believed the injured party was taking pictures of him and his girlfriend and then his runners were thrown in the river " she said.

"He has complex mental health and intellectual issues," she continued, adding that when he first appeared in court, he had a social worker for support.

"Since going into custody, he has lost all support services," said Ms Baxter.

"Judge (Deirdre) Gearty granted bail on minimal terms but he could not meet those terms and has remained in custody."

She added that her client had no family support and it was revealed to the court that he had no previous convictions.

"This was a vicious, unprovoked assault on an ordinary man out and about walking his dog," said Judge Keane.

"I note the explanation that was tendered by Mr Rodgers where he attempts to place the blame on the injured party. But he didn't do anything. He was only walking his dog and for him to be set upon in such a vicious way is outrageous.

"According to the psychiatric report, he had full capacity and yet he assaulted a member of the public viciously. The injured party hasn't made a big deal of it. He's out of pocket and was in hospital overnight."

Judge Keane convicted Mr Rodgers and sentenced him to six months in prison, backdating that sentence to when Mr Rodgers went into prison.

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