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Attacker gets three year suspended sentence

Attacker gets three year suspended sentence

A 26-year-old systems analyst has received a three year suspended sentence for an unprovoked punch which broke the victim's nose, sinus bone and left eye socket.

Colum Hanlon pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Jack Larkin causing him harm in the early hours of November 15, 2013 at Camden Street , Dublin.

Hanlon, with an address at Smithfield Market, Dublin, told gardaí he had been very drunk on the night and had no recollection of punching Mr Larkin. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan described the attack as a “spasm of misplaced jealousy” and commented that “alcohol is not an excuse because alcohol difficulties are self induced”.

The judge acknowledged Hanlon’s work history, his expression of remorse and lack of previous convictions and accepted that this incident would be a “once off.”

He ordered that Hanlon pay the €10,000 he had gathered as compensation to his victim and gave him 18 months to raise a further €5,000 for Mr Larkin.

Garda Thomas McKenna told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that Mr Larkin had been to “Coppers” Nightclub on Harcourt Street on the night in question.

Mr Larkin told gardaí he had a few drinks, but was not drunk, and left the club on his own shortly after 3:30am.

He said the next thing he remembered was lying on the ground with his hands over his face to protect himself.

Mr Larkin remembered paramedics calling his name in an ambulance before he lost consciousness and woke up in St James' Hospital.

His nose had been severely broken requiring surgery, while his sinus bone and left eye socket had been fractured.

A victim impact report was given to the judge but was not read out in court.

The court heard that Mr Larkin couldn't eat solid food for six weeks and that the side of his face was numb.

He had been in his final year of studying to become a primary school teacher at St Patrick's Teacher Training College and missed several college days because of the assault.

The court heard that eye-witness Suzanne Grufferty had bumped into Jack Larkin outside the nightclub and introduced him to Hanlon.

She told gardaí that suddenly, without warning, Hanlon punched Jack in the face knocking him unconscious to the ground.

Ms Grufferty said she knelt beside Mr Larkin trying to speak to him, and that when she turned around to Hanlon to say “what the hell...?”, he had gone.

She said it seemed to her to be a “totally unprovoked” attack.

Ms Grufferty said she had kissed Hanlon in the nightclub earlier in the night.

Hanlon met with gardaí by arrangement some months later, accepted full responsibility, expressed remorse and said he felt terrible about assaulting Mr Larkin.

He said the incident was “very out-of-character” and that he found it difficult to believe he hadn't been provoked.

Hanlon told gardaí that Mr Larkin had had a previous relationship with Ms Grufferty.

The court heard that he studied Information Systems Management in GMIT and is currently employed as a systems analyst.

Hanlon brought €10,000 to court in compensation.

William Cleary BL, defending, said Hanlon has attended anger management since this incident and has given up drink since last November.

The court heard that Hanlon's job requires him to travel and that he was hoping to travel to the US for work.