Stonemason who punched a glass into his friend's face is jailed

CourtsBy Sunday World
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A stonemason who carried out two unprovoked serious assaults one of which was on a friend has been jailed for three and half years.

Michael Noonan (34) had been at a memorial night for a friend of his who had been murdered in Australia when he punched a glass into Gary Rigley's face. He then turned to Mr Rigley's brother, Shaun and beat him about the head and face.

Garda Andrew O'Donnell told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that CCTV footage of the incident shows Noonan and his friend Gary Rigley having a conversation before Mr Rigley hugged him twice.

Mr Rigley then raised his pint glass to his mouth before Noonan punched the base of the glass smashing through it and into his friend's mouth.

A victim impact report from Mr Rigley stated that he estimated that his dental bills would ultimately cost in the region of €20,000 or €30,000. He said he didn't want Noonan to go to jail but he would like a letter of apology and money towards his medical expenses.

The previous May, Noonan had been speaking to a friend in a nightclub in Leopardstown, when Thomas Kelly approached them.

Noonan didn't realise at the time that Mr Kelly knew the man he was speaking to and a brief confrontation arose between them which ended when Noonan elbowed Mr Kelly directly to the face, knocking the man to the ground and rendering him unconscious.

He was later treated in hospital for multiple skull fractures and haemorrhaging. Mr Kelly had no recollection of the assault and Noonan later admitted that it should not have happened.

Noonan of Granitefield, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr Kelly causing him harm at Club 92, Leopardstown on May 5, 2014.

He also admitted assaulting Mr Rigley causing him harm and assaulting Shaun Rigley at The Magic Carpet Bar, Cabinteely, on September 7, 2014. He had 10 previous convictions which were all for public order offences apart from a suspended sentence handed down in February 2005 for another assault.

Judge Martin Nolan said Noonan seems to be an extraordinary strong man that the blows he delivered came with such considerable force to cause such serious injuries.

He said in the incident involving Mr Kelly, Noonan completely misread the situation leaving the man with fractures and haemorrhaging which had long term effects on him.

“This was a totally unprovoked assault,” the judge said.

Judge Nolan said the second incident occurred when Noonan was among friends. He noted evidence that Noonan had organised the night himself as he had been in Australia with his friend when he was murdered.

His friend had ended up on a life support for six weeks following an assault and Noonan had provided huge support to both his friend and that man's family.

“He is a very strong man who was at the time prone to loosing control,” Judge Nolan said before he added there was “long history of lapses of control causing him to behave aggressively and in a hostile way”.

“One assault to some degree is forgivable whereas two assaults with his history is totally unforgivable,” Judge Nolan said before he jailed Noonan for three and half years.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client had written letters of apology. He described the assaults “as two troubling incidents” and accepted that Noonan had completely misinterpreted the first incident.

Counsel said his client works in the family stonemason business and feels “sick to the stomach” for what he has done.