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Man who attacked 'good Samaritan' with a jagged beer can jailed for 12 months

John McDermott attacked Russ Hogan after he caught him observing him watching a woman take money from an ATM.

SCC R Woffenden 3 Source: Richard Woffenden

A MAN WHO furnished a weapon during an assault on a ‘good Samaritan’ was today handed down a prison sentence.

John McDermott (24), with an address at River Valley, Swords, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Russ Hogan at Talbot Street on 10 July 2014.

The court heard that at about 8pm on that date, Hogan was walking along Talbot Street. He noticed two young men, McDermott and another youth, who was 16 at the time, who appeared to be observing a woman taking money from an ATM.

John Byrne, BL, prosecuting, said McDermott shouted “What the fuck are you looking at?” to Hogan. Both McDermott and his friend moved towards Hogan to threaten him but Hogan tried to talk to them and defuse the situation.

Garda Fergus Grant said that a young woman, who was also with McDermott, then began to kick and punch out at Hogan.

Hogan said he saw what he later described as a “flash of silver” in the 16-year-old’s hands, which was slashed at his face. Hogan received two wounds to his right cheek as well as other cuts.

At this point McDermott, who was across the road, came towards Hogan with an improvised weapon made out of a beer can.

Beer can

McDermott had taken the beer can out of his pocket and bit into it. He twisted it so the edge became jagged and moved towards the victim.

McDermott then began to assist his friend in punching and kicking Hogan. A member of the public alerted gardaí, and both young men were arrested.

When McDermott, who has 103 previous convictions, arrived at Store Street Garda Station, he himself was suffering from injuries, having a broken nose and cuts on his face. He was under the influence of alcohol and tablets.

He said he had brandished the can to help his friend get away from Hogan and did not injure anyone with it.

Hogan attended the Mater hospital that evening, where he was treated for two moderately deep wounds on his right cheek, as well as other more minor cuts.

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Byrne said McDermott pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm, on the understanding that it was not him who slashed Hogan’s face.

McDermott is currently serving a sentence for two robberies committed last year.

Anne Marie Lawlor BL, defending, told the court that McDermott had asked Garda Grant to convey his apologies to Hogan, which Hogan “graciously” accepted.

Lawlor said McDermott, who has a long-term partner and young child, had struggled with a “chronic addiction” to various substances, and that many of his offences had been made under the influence of a substance, or in an attempt to procure money in order to purchase them.

She said that what McDermott did in relation to Hogan was “absolutely inexcusable” but that her client was not the one whose actions caused the laceration on Mr Hogan’s face, and that “his role was on the periphery of an event”.

Describing Hogan as a “good Samaritan” who was set upon by McDermott and his friend, Judge Cormac Quinn sentenced McDermott to 18 months in prison, with the final six months suspended.

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