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28 Jun 2022

Longford man jailed for 'act of barbarism' causing serious harm

Longford man jailed for 'act of barbarism' causing serious harm

A Longford man charged with section 4 assault causing serious harm to another man has been sentenced to 80 months in prison, with the final 17 months suspended, following a sitting of Longford Circuit Court this week.

Derek Doherty (52), Vicarstown, Ballymahon, Co Longford, was due to stand trial earlier this year but pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to another just before a jury was impanelled.

The court heard that, on June 3, 2018, at a Colehill address, Mr Doherty and his son, who has already been sentenced and is serving time in prison for his part in the offence, carried out what Judge Comerford referred to as "an act of barbarism" on a man who, having gone back to the house with Mr Doherty's wife, thinking she and her husband had split up, was "a person who didn't know what was happening".

In his victim impact statement, which was read out on his behalf in court, the injured party said the men were like "two starved animals" and his "screams of intolerable pain" didn't stop them.

The man came away with horrendous injuries, including bruising to his body and face, swollen genitals from where Mr Doherty had pulled and squeezed them and significant injuries to his rectum following the insertion of a curtain pole by Mr Doherty's son, leaving the victim with a stoma bag for 16 months and lasting injuries.

Passing judgement this week, Judge Comerford said that Mr Doherty, while he was not the one holding the curtain pole, was the more culpable of the two because of his relationship to the co-accused.

"Mr Doherty was the person with greater responsibility. But rather than put any restraint on his son, he allowed him to be involved in this attack," said Judge Comerford.

"The appropriate headline sentence for Mr Doherty's conduct - which I regard as being more culpable because of the relationship between them - is eight and a half years," he added.

However, with mitigating factors, including Mr Doherty's acceptance of some degree of responsibility initially and, later, a guilty plea and testimonials as to his "generally good character" and "productive life", this was reduced from 102 months in prison to 80 months.

Judge Johnson then proceeded to suspend the final 17 months of the sentence on the condition that Mr Doherty keeps the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of 17 months following his release.

See next week's Longford Leader for more.

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