Man knocked out another man at Oktoberfest over perceived homophobia

Mr McDermott knocked another man out at Oktoberfest in Dublin
Mr McDermott knocked another man out at Oktoberfest in Dublin

A Wicklow IT worker who knocked out a man at the Oktoberfest Beer Festival in Dublin over perceived homophobic abuse has received a suspended sentence.

Mark McDermott (30) threw a single punch at Michael Purcell, knocking him unconscious. He was later found to have concussion and bleeding inside the skull.

Defence counsel Luigi Rea BL said that McDermott was at the festival with a gay friend and that there was “heckling” towards this friend throughout the night from another group. He said McDermott “rightly or wrongly” thought Mr Purcell was part of this group and this led to the assault.

McDermott of Priory Court, Edengate, Delgany, Co Wicklow pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at the beer festival on George's Dock, Dublin on September 26, 2014.

Judge Martin Nolan said there was no legitimate provocation for the attack but that a jail term was not appropriate.

The judge asked how much McDermott earned in his job in IT in the corporate sales department of a major telecommunications company and was told he earned an average of €45,000 a year.

Judge Nolan imposed an 18 month suspended sentence and ordered McDermott to pay over €4,000 to the victim within a year. If the victim refused the money the court would decide what to do with it, he said.

Garda Seamus Kelly said that McDermott had been thrown out of the festival after getting into an argument but managed to slip back in and attack Mr Purcell.

Gardaí arrived and spoke to McDermott who appeared to be drunk and agitated. He gave a false address and date of birth to gardaí but later came voluntarily to the station.

Mr Purcell was taken to hospital but later discharged himself in a confused state.

He returned to the emergency department a few days later complaining of nausea and light-headedness. A CT scan showed an intracranial hemorrhage.