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No extra jail time for Dublin man who beat heavily pregnant ex unconscious

CourtsBy Aoife Nic Ardghail
Donal O'Hara
Donal O'Hara

A Dublin man who is serving a 12-year sentence will not spend any extra time in prison for beating his heavily pregnant ex-girlfriend unconscious.

The court heard that Donal O'Hara (22) punched his ex-girlfriend, Réiltín Cassidy, who was 32 weeks pregnant with his child, in the face after she had been knocked to the ground.

O'Hara, of Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Ms Cassidy causing her harm at Ferrycarrig Drive, Coolock, on November 21, 2012. He has twenty previous convictions.

O'Hara's counsel, John Berry BL, submitted that O'Hara was taking steroids for body building at the time which may have led to the aggression. Judge Melanie Greally accepted this as possible.

Last year O'Hara was jailed for 12 years with seven suspended for what was described by a judge as an "evil" aggravated burglary in the home of the Corcoran family in Tipperary.

A gang of seven who travelled from Dublin to raid the house left three young children traumatised and the father with severe injuries. One of the gang threatened the mother that they would "kill your fucking kids" during the ordeal.

Ms Cassidy told gardai she had confronted O'Hara outside her mother's house when he turned up being verbally abusive. The last thing she recalled was her head hitting off the concrete.

Garda Kevin Hynes told Tom Neville BL, prosecuting, that Ms Cassidy grabbed O'Hara by the arm when he came at her in an altercation outside the house and she was knocked to the ground.

She discharged herself from hospital that day against medical advice after being treated for facial bruising.

The garda said that O'Hara initially denied being at the premises but later pleaded guilty to the assault.

He said O'Hara has since reconciled with Ms Cassidy, who is mother to his two children, and she declined to make a victim impact statement.

Gda Hynes agreed with John Berry BL, defending, that his client regretted the incident and that Ms Cassidy had forgiven him.

Mr Berry submitted to Judge Greally that though there was no evidence of alcohol abuse, his client had been taking steroids at the time for body building and this could have affected him.

Counsel further submitted that through him, Ms Cassidy was asking for leniency.

Judge Greally accepted that the steroids could have had an influence in O'Hara's actions.

The judge also noted there were favourable reports in court for O'Hara. She imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence to run alongside his 12 year sentence.