'aggressive' | 

Man who attacked his two friends with stick after they intervened in row avoids jail

A row broke out between Doyle and his then partner and both Dylan Gallagher and Mr Dixon tried to intervene when the row moved outside onto the street.
James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019.
Pic Collins Courts

James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019. Pic Collins Courts

James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019.
Pic Collins Courts

James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019. Pic Collins Courts

Sonya McLean and Eimear DoddSunday World

A man who beat his two friends with a stick who had intervened in a row he was having with his then girlfriend has been handed a suspended three and a half year prison sentence.

James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was “hard to understand” what had caused the defendant to “behave in such an aggressive and violent way” towards his friends.

While he said it was a serious attack, Judge Nolan said the court considered it was unlikely that the defendant would re-offend. He suspended a three and a half year sentence on strict conditions in relation to the assault on Mr Gallagher.

Judge Nolan also ordered Doyle to pay €10,000 in compensation to Mr Gallagher and a further €3,000 in compensation to Mr Dixon.

The court heard that Mr Gallagher’s arm was fractured in the assault when he raised it to protect his face. He later had to have surgery to insert a metal plate in his forearm and has suffered nerve damage.

Mr Gallagher, a make-up artist, said his injury caused him to be out of work for many months as he didn’t have the steady hand he needed to do his job efficiently.

Mr Gallagher and Mr Dixon were also due to be married in the months after the attack and they both stated in victim impact statements that the assault “took away from the joy of the wedding day”.

Judge Martin Nolan said there had been a previous engagement with these two men and Doyle then appeared at their home and attacked them savagely with a piece of wood.

James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019.
Pic Collins Courts

James Doyle (36) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Dylan Gallagher and James Dixon on April 28, 2019. Pic Collins Courts

He added that the physical injuries suggested “a pretty determined assault”. He was asked to accept a suggestion from defence counsel that Doyle was not “lying in” wait for the men.

The prosecuting garda told Pieter Le Vert BL that the men had been present at the christening of a child of Mr Gallagher’s brother, Paul, as Doyle was a good friend with Paul Gallagher.

A row broke out between Doyle and his then partner and both Dylan Gallagher and Mr Dixon tried to intervene when the row moved outside onto the street.

There was some pushing and shoving before Doyle kicked Mr Gallagher in his face causing it to bleed, while Mr Dixon was punched in the head. Mr Gallagher suffered a panic attack as a result of the kick and was brought back inside.

Mr Gallagher and Mr Dixon left the christening about two hours later and got a taxi home. When Mr Dixon was getting out of the car, Doyle, who lived nearby, struck him in the face with a piece of wood.

Mr Dixon fell to the ground and Doyle struck him a second time. Mr Gallagher ran over to try and stop the attack and received a blow to the head before his left forearm was struck as he put it up to protect his face.

The gardaí were called and the couple taken to hospital. Doyle made a voluntary statement to gardaí the following day, during which he outlined that he was intoxicated that night.

He claimed he had been restrained from leaving Paul Gallagher’s home, following the “tiff” with his girlfriend and said he got a call later from his friend telling him that Mr Gallagher and Mr Dixon where going to call to his home.

Doyle told gardaí he lived with his elderly father so didn’t want the men calling to his home. The court heard that Mr Gallagher and Mr Dixon lived near Doyle.

He said he waited outside for them and when he saw Mr Dixon getting out of the taxi, he picked up a stick that had been lying around and swung it at him. He said the men were his friends and he was very sorry to hear they were in hospital.

Mr Gallagher stated in his victim impact statement that he has a seven-inch scar on his arm and nerve damage. He said he had to cancel many clients’ appointments and suffered a loss of earnings of €7,000.

Mr Dixon said two of his teeth were cracked and he was prescribed medication to help him sleep. He said he used to be happy all the time and love being around people but he doesn’t anymore.

The garda agreed with Barry Ward BL, defending, that his client has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since

He told Judge Nolan that Doyle was friends with the men and his remorse was “immediate, sincere and demonstrative” and that his client had written letters of apology.

Mr Ward said Doyle doesn’t have money to offer the court but is willing to raise money as a token of remorse for the victims.

He asked Judge Nolan to accept that his client was not lying in wait for the two men. He said there was an element of intoxication, he picked up a stick and swung the stick.

Mr Ward also asked the court to accept that his client surrendered himself to gardaí.

Ordering Doyle to pay a total of €13,000 in compensation to the victims, Judge Nolan said the intention was to punish the defendant and help the victims.

“You came very close to going to prison for a long time. I don't know what came into your mind to attack these unfortunate men who were friendly to you,” Judge Nolan said.


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