No jail for man who assaulted health worker

Paul Grace
Paul Grace

A Dublin man who assaulted a youth worker who had tried to help him detox from his drug addiction has received a three year suspended sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Paul Grace (36) has since turned his life around, was now clean of drugs, had completed a certificate in drugs counselling and was studying psychotherapy.

Grace, of Beaumont Park, Artane, pleaded guilty to assaulting Patrick Malone causing him harm at Killarney Street, Dublin on March 29, 2013.

The court heard Mr Malone, who is now retired, was a professional who had a long history of helping those attempting to rehabilitate from drug addiction. In his victim impact statement he asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence on Grace.

Grace has 22 previous convictions for offences including theft and criminal damage but none for violent offences.

Judge Patricia Ryan said an aggravating factor was the violent nature of this crime but noted that Grace had been incoherent and confused and stayed at the premises until an ambulance arrived.

She further noted that Grace now volunteered with addiction services and was deemed at low risk of re-offending.

At the sentence hearing, Garda Rory Carey told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that Mr Malone knew Grace, who had tried and failed at rehabilitation attempts, and had on occasion given him money for hostels.

Grace, who was sleeping rough and abusing drugs, told Mr Malone he wished to detox and they arranged for him to detox in Mr Malone's apartment. During the detox Grace attempted to buy drugs and Mr Malone told him the detox would not work as he needed residential treatment.

Grace was upset but gathered up his things and left. He returned some days after in an incoherent state and asked if he could sleep in the apartment. Mr Malone was later woken by Grace pushing a knife at him and trying to stab him.

During a tussle Mr Malone sustained some injuries to his arms and hand before getting the knife.

An ambulance was called and Mr Malone underwent surgery on his hand.

Gda Carey agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that Grace had since made extensive progress and had come from a homelessness situation to now being a leader in helping others.

Mr Le Vert said Grace began using drugs and alcohol as a 13 year old but had managed to hide his difficulties from employers to some degree and worked in the building trade and as a fitness instructor.

He said following this incident Grace had attempted self harm and during his a stay in a psychiatric ward had decided he wanted to change his life. The father of one had gone to residential treatment, counselling and returned to education. He handed in testimonials on his clients behalf.

Mr Le Vert submitted the offence was completely out of character and Grace had a promising future ahead of him.