Businessman avoids jail for attacking cyclist riding on footpath

CourtsBy Sunday World
David Corcoran
David Corcoran

A SENIOR company executive, who beat and began strangling a cyclist for riding his bike on a Dublin city-centre footpath, has been spared a criminal record and a possible sentence.

David Corcoran (51) with an address at Collinswood, Whitehall, in Dublin, had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Philip Fitzgerald who suffered dental injuries during the incident at Clanwilliam Terrace in D. 2 on July 1 last year

The case was struck out after he complied with a judge's order to pay €3,930 in compensation and to give €2,500 to charity.

Judge Michael Walsh had said earlier that Corcoran's actions were completely disproportionate but he ruled that he can avoid a criminal record and a possible sentence by covering Mr Fitzgerald's medical expenses and new false teeth, and by donating money to the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin which helps people in need.

Garda Brian Cleary had told Dublin District Court that Corcoran was walking along Clanwilliam Terrace when a cyclist approached on the footpath. Gda Cleary said Corcoran shouldered Mr Fitzgerald off his bicycle causing him to fall to the ground. The incident happened at about 10.30am.

The businessman punched the cyclist in the face and head and got him into a headlock and “kneed him while he was in a headlock”. The attack was stopped when members of the public intervened and broke up the fight.

Mr Fitzgerald suffered dental injuries and his face was scratched.

He had told Judge Walsh he has recovered and the court had heard he faced €3,930 in medical expenses. Pleading for leniency defence solicitor Eugene Dunne had said at an earlier hearing that his client was a senior company executive who had no prior criminal convictions.

He had said cyclists using the footpath had been a problem in the area. Vans were parked on the side of the path and his client leaned in and the hit the bike causing the cyclist to come off, the solicitor said. 

But Judge Walsh said the businessman went further than that and had used the strap of the victim's helmet “to try and strangle him, the effect was strangulation”.

The defence solicitor had said Corcoran was apologetic for his behaviour and prepared to pay the cyclist's out of pocket expenses and to donate money to charity.

Judge Walsh noted Corcoran first saw Mr Fitzgerald approaching on his bike when he was 20 feet away and he said the company executive could have stood back to let him pass.

The judge accepted it can be annoying but said “we live in a congested city and sometimes needs must”.

Judge Walsh noted his remorse but described Corcoran's actions as disproportionate. “It was not more than a very temporary minor nuisance, we have it on every street of the city but we do not get someone by the throat and try and strangle them,” the judge had said, adding that it was a very serious offence.

Gda Cleary had confirmed that Corcoran was co-operative and that the victim was happy if he got his dentures replaced he would be able to put it behind him.