No jail for man who punched garda

Patrick Davis
Patrick Davis

An unemployed butcher who fractured a garda's eye socket by punching him twice has received a suspended sentence.

Patrick Davis (30) was intoxicated and “out of control” when he attacked Garda Ciaran Byrne. The plain-clothes garda was trying to intervene in an earlier attack by Davis on another man.

Davis of Marrowbone Lane Flats, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Garda Byrne and Desmond Dunphy on Thomas Street, Dublin on February 9, 2014. He has no previous convictions and said he was so intoxicated on the night that he didn't realise the second victim was a garda.

Judge Martin Nolan said he could accept that Davis didn't know Gda Byrne was a garda but said his behaviour was reprehensible. He suspended a jail sentence of two and a half years on condition that Davis pay €2,000 over to Mr Dunphy in the next year.

The court heard Davis and Mr Dunphy had spent the day at a christening celebration with a large group of extended family and friends. The group had gone to a pub on Thomas Street and both men had been drinking.

When Mr Dunphy and his two brothers were leaving the pub later that evening they met Davis and two men. Davis was aggressive and starting shouting and threatening Mr Dunphy.

One man was holding Davis back and said he was “out of control”. The Dunphys walked away and on to a nearby chipper, Sergeant James O'Brien testified.

Davis followed them there and said he would fight any of them and that he was going to kill them. Mr Dunphy was frightened and called the gardaí.

He only left the chipper when he believed Davis had gone away. When he left Davis hit him a hard blow to the face, dazed him and causing him to stumble. He saw his brother, Brian Dunphy, on the ground.

When Gda Byrne arrived Davis was shouting and still acting extremely aggressively and the garda placed himself between the two groups of men in order to prevent another assault.

Gda Byrne identified himself repeatedly as a garda and displayed his stab proof vest with the word Garda on it. Davis punched him in the face and Gda Byrne took a step back.

Davis punched him again and Gda Byrne felt he was in danger of losing consciousness as he was losing vision and the strength to stand up. At one point another male kicked him.

The garda fell to one knee at this point and from there tried to use his pepper spray to incapacitate his attackers. When support gardaí arrived Davis and the other men tried to get away by jumping into a taxi but Gda Byrne stood in front of the taxi and told the driver not to drive away.

Davis was pulled from the back seat and arrested after a struggle. The court heard Gda Byrne was in great pain at this point especially around his eyes. A CT scan later showed his eye socket had been fractured during the attack.

John Berry BL, defending, said that his client was in the midst of an unimaginable personal tragedy at the time of these offences. Weeks previously his pregnant wife had suffered a heart attack and both her and their child died after doctors concluded they could not survive without mechanical life support.

Counsel said the christening party was his client's first time out since the personal tragedy and family and friends were offering him drinks on an ongoing basis throughout the day.

Mr Berry said his client was a qualified butcher who was not working at present. He said Davis had acted recklessly on the night and he wished to offer an apology to the victims.