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'Moment of madness' Man receives suspended sentence for one-punch attack that left victim with fractured skull and brain bleed

His solicitor said the attack was “a moment of madness” from a man with an otherwise unblemished record.

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Liam Stoneham of Bewley Drive, Lucan, Dublin pictured leaving the Criminal courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin after he appeared before the court. Pic: Collins Courts

Liam Stoneham of Bewley Drive, Lucan, Dublin pictured leaving the Criminal courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin after he appeared before the court. Pic: Collins Courts

Liam Stoneham of Bewley Drive, Lucan, Dublin pictured leaving the Criminal courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin after he appeared before the court. Pic: Collins Courts

A 24-year old Dublin man has received a four year suspended sentence after a one-punch attack on an innocent man that left the victim with a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain.

Liam Stoneham, from Bewley Drive in Lucan, pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm to father of three Adam Ward (42), from Knocklyon in Dublin, outside Sinnott’s pub on King Street close to St Stephen’s Green on the night of February 3 2019.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mr Ward suffered serious injuries while falling to the ground after being punched from behind by Mr Stoneham, who was being put out of the pub along with his friend after causing a nuisance earlier at the table where Mr Ward had been with friends.

Mr Ward was in the smoking area outside when he was attacked.

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Assault victim Adam Ward.

Assault victim Adam Ward.

Assault victim Adam Ward.

On Monday Judge Martin Nolan heard from Garda Jemma Holmes that she had collected CCTV footage of the attack and when it was shown to Mr Stoneham after his arrest he accepted it was him in the footage and made admissions to his involvement in the attack.

The court heard that Mr Stoneham had been drinking pints and vodka at the pub, and after the attack staff there sought medical attention for Mr Ward while Mr Stoneham left the scene in the direction of Grafton Street and went to another pub.

Mr Ward was treated for a traumatic brain injury, and although he has made a good recovery a victim impact statement handed to the court said he still has a future risk of epileptic seizures, poor senses of smell and taste, suffers reduced balance and dexterity, feels nervous in crowds and also has less trust in strangers.

Counsel for Mr Stoneham, John Fitzgerald SC, told the court that his client was cooperative with gardai, expressed remorse, and was very ashamed of his actions.

The court heard Mr Stoneham became emotional when told of the extent of the injuries to Mr Ward.

Mr Fitzgerald said the attack was “a moment of madness” from a man with an otherwise unblemished record.

He said Mr Stoneham had studied law and economics at UCD and was now doing a Masters degree.

As well as receiving the four year suspended sentence Mr Stoneham was ordered to offer his victim €10,000 by way of compensation now, and a further €10,000 into the future.

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Assault victim Adam Ward.

Assault victim Adam Ward.

Assault victim Adam Ward.

If this is not accepted by the victim, who is pursuing a civil claim, the first €10,000 is to be donated to a charity chosen by garda Holmes.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Ward said he hoped Mr Stoneham had learned a valuable lesson.

“I was prepared to let the justice system run its course and I accept the sentence for what it is. The judge has made his call and I’m sure he listened to all the facts,” he said.

“The result is still significant for Mr Stoneham. I hope he realises what he has done and makes use of his chances in the future,” he added.

In his victim impact statement he said a major effect the assault had on him was that he was left with a lot of anger which affected his mood for a long time.

“My wife had a lot to deal with during my recovery and carried the burden of a lot of the psychological trauma in helping me through the difficult times,” he said.

“I suffered a lot of upset over the fact that my young daughters, who were under two years of age at the time, could have been left without a father due to this cowardly attack. It led to a lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have been’, not only for myself but for my family.”

“It has had a significant and lasting effect on my life. The main impact on life has been the long recovery period which has been challenging.”

“Having prolonged symptoms such as issues around balance and dexterity has taken a toll on how I interact with my young children,” he added.

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Assault victim Adam Ward.

Assault victim Adam Ward.

Assault victim Adam Ward.

Mr Ward’s solicitor, John McCabe from Maguire Bardon Solicitors, described the attack on his client as a "reckless and cowardly act of violence".

“The message from today's sentence is people that engage in these random and reckless acts of violence will be identified and brought before the courts and held accountable,” he said.

"The consequences of these actions are severe not only for the victim and their families but the attacker as well,” he added.

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