The victim recalled being covered in blood, but does not remember much of the incident.
Ramadan Kulla (62) of Tory Square, Blanchardstown pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing harm on March 25, 2016 at the Westend Retail Park, Blanchardstown. He has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since this incident.
Imposing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday, Judge Nolan said a custodial sentence was required, given the seriousness of the case. He imposed a three year sentence with the final 20 months suspended.
Garda Michael McClean told Garret Baker SC, prosecuting, that the victim was having coffee with friends on the day in question, when he was approached by Kulla.
The accused took a claw hammer from his jacket, then hit the victim on the head. The victim recalled being covered in blood, but does not remember much of the incident.
Another witness saw Kulla come up to the victim, saying he had business with the man. The pair struggled after Kulla struck him during which the victim managed to get hold of the hammer.
He then struck Kulla on the head. When gardai arrived, they observed Kulla was injured and covered in blood.
Both men were taken to hospital. The victim required three stitches to his head. A medical report was handed into the court.
The victim told gardai that he knew Kulla from his town in Albania, but did not know why Kulla had assaulted him. Kulla was arrested and made admissions to gardai, in which he explained why he had struck the victim.
Gardai also retrieved CCTV of Kulla in a shop buying the hammer before the attack.
A victim impact statement was handed into the court, but not read aloud. Mr Baker said the victim suffered from depression and high blood pressure following this incident.
Gda McClean agreed with John Moher BL, defending, that the victim had managed to get hold of the hammer and struck Kulla in an act of self-defence.
His client suffered a head injury, which he “brought on himself”, Mr Moher said. Mr Moher said this offence goes back some years, when his client would have been aged in his mid-fifties.
His client perceived a grievance, which he felt was strong. His client had also sought to justify his actions when interviewed by gardai.
“To take matters into his own hand was a serious step, whatever the perceived grievance,” Mr Moher said.
Before moving to Ireland in 2001, Kulla has worked in Greece and Belgium. He has three adult children and family members were present in court to support him.
Mr Moher asked Judge Nolan to be as lenient as possible in the circumstances.
Judge Nolan said Kulla seemed to have a grievance for an unknown reason against the victim. Kulla had brought the hammer prior to the and approached the victim with the intention of hitting him.
He noted the “excellent mitigation” in Kulla's favour, including that he has lived in the state for many years without coming to garda attention and that it is unlikely that he will re-offend.