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Man attacks victim with knife after being headbutted in personal space row

CourtsBy Sunday World
Mark Donohoe
Mark Donohoe

A Meath man has received a suspended sentence for assaulting a man who had headbutted him in a row over personal space.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mark Donohoe used a knife to attack Alan McIllroy in self-defence but pleaded guilty to the offence on the basis that his actions were excessive.

Donohoe (40) of Oakway, Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Eurospar, Hartstown Shopping Centre, Dublin on September 2, 2013.

The court heard that Donohoe was queueing behind Mr McIllroy in the shop when the victim took the view that Donohoe was standing too close.

The pair argued about this. After both men had been served the argument continued at the shop door and Mr McIllroy head-butted Donohoe.

Donohoe shoved him before leaving the shop and Mr McIllroy following him outside. Judge Patricia Ryan said that the victim then grabbed Donohoe and “gave him a few digs”.

Donohoe had a knife in his pocket from the previous day when he had been using it to fix his bike. Donohoe pulled the knife out and attacked Mr McIllroy with it.

The court heard that McIllroy suffered severe facial injuries. He had a wound from his ear canal to his cheek. His face drooped for a while and he still had trouble blinking.

Judge Ryan said that Donohoe acted in self-defence but with over and above the force required. She suspended a sentence of two years and ordered that €4,000 offered by Donohoe in remorse should be paid over to the victim.

Donohoe's barrister told the court Donohoe had a “completely unblemished record”.

“He was unequivocally under attack and that attack was absolutely unnecessary,” he said. The court heard that Donohoe pleaded guilty to assault on the grounds of excessive self-defence, which was accepted by the prosecution.

In sentencing Donohoe, Judge Ryan noted his remorse and the practical expression of that remorse in terms of the money offered. She also noted his excellent educational achievements and his working record.

Finally she noted his engagement with volunteer activity. She suspended the two-year prison term on condition that he keeps the peace and is of good behaviour for that period.

Declan Brennan