Longford Circuit Court: Suspended sentence for assaulting Longford man

Court hopes defendant can move on with his life

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A man who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford Circuit Court, convicted of an assault causing harm to another man at a previous sitting, was sentenced to five years in prison which the presiding judge suspended for five years on the grounds that the defendant enter a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Danny McLoughlin, 2 Railway Court, Newtownforbes, Co Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson convicted of violent disorder and assaulting James Campbell (22) and causing him harm at Battery Road, Longford on September 6, 2015.

There was also two co-accused in the case - Jamie Brady (21), 102 Teffia Park, Longford and a minor - who were also convicted in respect of the matter at the last hearing.

The case centered around an attack on Mr Campbell who had been walking along the Battery Road in Longford town with his girlfriend and friend, when he was assaulted by the defendants.

During the last hearing, the court heard that Mr Campbell suffered a broken nose and fractured eye socket as a result of the assault which took place in the early hours of the morning not far from Longford Garda Station.

“Mr Campbell had attended a GAA match the previous evening and was staying at Fee Court in Longford town,” said Mr Dockery BL before pointing out that the victim was on his way back to his accommodation when the incident occurred.

“It was during the early hours of the morning when Mr Campbell and his group encountered Mr Brady, Mr McLoughlin and the third defendant.

“They chatted about football and about the Dublin Mayo match and Mr Campbell and his girlfriend walked on ahead thereafter.”

Meanwhile, the court heard that Mr Campbell said in his statement to the Gardaí that the next thing he knew, the lads were behind him and then he was surrounded by them.

Reading the victim’s statement, Mr Dockery BL pointed out that Mr Campbell then got a “punch to the head” and he was on the ground.

Counsel for the State said that Mr Campbell told the Gardaí that he told the lads, at that stage, that he did not want to fight and was not “a fighting type of a man”.

“I got up and made my way to Fee Court but then I got a Conor McGregor style kick to my eye and fell,” added Mr Campbell, who then pointed out that he eventually made his way to the house on Fee Court and an ambulance was called.

Mr Campbell, the court heard, was initially taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar but was later transferred to St James’ Hospital in Dublin.

After an examination there, doctors sent him to the Eye & Ear Hospital on Adelaide Road, where it was determined that he had a fractured eye socket and broken nasal bones.

Mr Campbell also had extensive bruising and swelling to his face the court was told, and he had to undergo surgery as a result of his injuries.

Meanwhile, Mr Dockery BL pointed out to the court that when Mr Campbell fell following the ‘Conor McGregor style kick’, the lads ran away and left him there.

Medical evidence on behalf of the injured party was then submitted to the court.

“Mr Campbell has attended out-patients on several occasions since his surgery and the medical report confirms that his injuries were consistent with an assault,” said Mr Dockery BL.

On the day and in mitigation, Mr Shane Geraghty BL, Counsel for Mr McLoughlin said his client had €1,000 in court by way of compensation to Mr Campbell.

“He is very remorseful and there is no attempt to diminish what has occurred,” the Barrister continued.

“Mr McLoughlin had a shocking upbringing; as a teenager he was engaged with the child psychology services.

“He only attended appointments on a couple of occasions and no other services were made available to him after that.”

Mr Geraghty BL went on to say that his client began using alcohol when he was just a teenager and by the age of 17 was taking cocaine.

“He was a minor when he committed the offences before the court and on the night in question there was no premeditation,” continued Counsel.

“He found himself part of a set of circumstances that got out of control and while his actions were disgusting, he is lucky that we are not before the Central Criminal Court (CCC).

“'There but for the grace of God, go I and all that………..”

The court was then told there was a common denominator in the case and that was alcohol and drugs.

“Mr McLoughlin has a placement in Kilkenny - subject to interview - for alcohol and drugs misuse in-treatment,” added Mr Geraghty.

Following his deliberations on the matter Judge Johnson said that Mr Brady had started acting in an aggressive manner towards James Campbell “and was looking for a fight” after an exchange between the pair over the Dublin Mayo match.

“Mr Campbell said he didn’t want to fight the men and that he wasn’t ‘a fighting type of man’,” added the Judge before pointing out that the matter before him was “clearly an extremely serious unprovoked assault on James Campbell”.

During his deliberations at the time Judge Johnson said that Danny McLoughlin was acutely aware that his chronic long-standing issues with substance misuse and anger management contributed “significantly” to his involvement in the incident.

Judge Johnson also indicated that he would adjourn sentencing in this case to allow the defendant time to engage with the Aislinn treatment centre in Kilkenny.

The Judge then sentenced Mr Brady and the minor to five years in prison but suspended the terms on the grounds that they enter into a bond of €500 to keep the peace and be of good behavior for a period of five years.

They were also ordered to submit themselves to supervision by the Probation Service and refrain from drinking alcohol, taking illicit substances and gambling for five years.

Judge Johnson then ordered that each defendant pay €10,000 to James Campbell by four annual instalments of €2,500, the first of which is to be paid by January 2018 with the remaining instalments to be paid on or before January 10 in each of the following years.

And, during this week’s hearing the court heard that a probation report in respect of Mr McLoughlin had been “very positive.”
Defence Counsel, Mr Niall Flynn BL said his client had been doing very well in recent times and had been sober and drugs free for seven months.

“He has also commenced a 40 week apprenticeship in Engineering,” Mr Flynn added.

“Mr McLoughlin has made great progress in addressing his addictions.”

Following his deliberations in respect of the matter Judge Johnson then ordered Mr McLoughlin to comply with his previous orders to pay four instalments of €2,500 to Mr Campbell in compensation. The matter was subsequently brought to a conclusion.