NewsCourts

Dublin student knocked man unconscious and kicked him in head outside nightclub

CourtsBy Sunday World
Adam McCarthy
Adam McCarthy

A college student who knocked a returned emigrant unconscious and kicked him in the head during a row over a taxi outside Tamango Nightclub will be sentenced early next year.

Adam McCarthy (24) with an address in Howth Road, Raheny, Dublin pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Niall McHale outside the venue attached to White Sands Hotel in Portmarnock on December 27, 2014.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today that Mr McHale had come home to Dublin from London, where is currently living, to visit family and friends for the Christmas holidays.

On the night of the incident, he was out socialising with friends in the nightclub and left around 2.15am. He and his friends were waiting on a taxi when another group of men, which included McCarthy, "ran out from the nightclub and jumped the queue", getting into a taxi.

Garda Thomas Halligan told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Mr McHale approached McCarthy to protest that it was not their taxi. McCarthy turned and punched the victim "before Mr McHale had even finished his sentence," Mr McGillicuddy said.

"He struck Mr McHale above the right eye and he fell to the ground," Mr McGillicuddy said. "The man then kicked him in the head."

Mr McHale suffered a brief loss of consciousness before being taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital. He received seven stitches to the head, as well as bruising and lacerations. McCarthy was restrained by nightclub bouncers until gardai arrived.

In a brief victim impact statement read out in court, Mr McHale said he was housebound for most of the Christmas holidays in the wake of the assault.

Brian Storan BL, defending, said McCarthy's reaction to his actions that night "has been one of shame and genuine remorse". He said McCarthy was two years into a four-year degree at DIT and his ability to achieve was described as "unparalleled" by former educators.

In a letter handed up to court, McCarthy "profusely" apologised to Mr McHale and his family for the "lack of respect" he had shown and the pain he had caused them.

"There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of this act and the consequences it has brought," the letter said.

The court was told that McCarthy has no previous convictions.

Mr Storan said his client had saved €3,500 and borrowed a further €1,500 from his parents to give to Mr McHale as a token of his remorse. The court heard Mr McHale is still in London but his parents had agreed to accept the money on his behalf on the condition that it go to a charity of their choosing.

Judge Melanie Greally said a kick to the head could have fatal consequences. The fact that Mr McHale did not suffer a serious injury was "through no restraint on your part", she told McCarthy.

"The incident which has come before the court is yet another incident where a young person is out for the night socialising when a slight provocation, if you can even call it that...provokes an act of extreme violence," the judge said.

Judge Greally said she wished to explore the possibility of community service before handing down sentence and she adjourned the matter to February 8 next year.

Isabel Hayes