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guilty plea Drunk man who bit 'chivalrous' commuter on the DART avoids jail

Bruton bit his victim twice as well as punching the man's son

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A drunk man on the DART who bit a commuter after he “chivalrously” intervened to stop him acting aggressively towards a woman has received a fully suspended sentence.

Ivan Bruton (23) twice bit John Rock and also punched his son Adam in the face during the physical altercation that ensued after they intervened during a verbal dispute the intoxicated man was having with a woman.

Bruton of Templeview Lawn, Clare Hall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and assault at Salthill & Monkstown DART Station on May 31, 2020.

His previous convictions including assault causing harm, handling stolen property and possession of drugs.

Passing sentence today, Judge Martin Nolan said on the particular date Bruton was in a verbal dispute with a lady. He said Mr Rock Sr “chivalrously tried to stop that and for his trouble he was attacked” by Bruton.

The judge noted the defendant has one “troubling” conviction for assault causing harm for which he received a two year suspended sentence that was active at the time of this incident.

He said the court always tries to avoid imposing custodial sentences on young people and there is always hope for reform. He said that it seems Bruton at this point in his life is doing well and while it is “a very close run thing”, he had decided not to imprison him.

Judge Nolan sentenced Bruton to 16 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 12 months.

The judge also ordered that the €500 which Bruton had in court be handed over to the victims or a charity of their choosing and that he raise a further €1,000 for the same purpose within one year.

Garda Niall Byrne told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, gardaí responded to a call of an aggressive man on the DART line and spoke with the two Rock men after the incident.

Gda Byrne said the Rocks had observed an intoxicated Bruton in a verbal altercation with a woman and that a physical altercation ensued when Mr Rock Sr tried to intervene.

Amidst pushing and shoving, Bruton bit Mr Rock Sr on the forearm and finger, breaking the skin, and also punched Mr Rock Jr under his right eye.

Gda Byrne agreed with Barry Ward BL, defending, that his client accepted in interview with gardaí that there had been an altercation and expressed remorse. He agreed that Bruton was intoxicated upon his arrest.

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The garda agreed with counsel that his client has not come to adverse garda attention since the incident.

Mr Ward said that what is common to his client's offending is alcohol. He submitted that things have changed for his client since the incident, that he is in full-time employment and has a young daughter.

Counsel said his client had a history of offending that has stopped since this offence and submitted that this is not a matter that is likely to recur.

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