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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 9 May 2021

Man faces 12 years in jail for cutting victim's cornea with a broken glass bottle

Sean Kenny pleaded guilty in court and will be sentenced in March.

Image: Shutterstock/Yehuda Boltshauser

A MAN FACES a possible sentence of up to 12-and-a-half years in prison for a serious assault which left the victim legally blind in his left eye.

Sean Kenny (24) hit Raphael Momoh (21) in the eye with a broken glass bottle which cut the victim’s cornea and left him with noticeable scarring on his upper and lower eyelid. Mr Momoh required a corneal transplant to restore his vision.

Kenny of Lourdes Road, Maryland, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Mr Momoh on Parkgate Street on 29 January 2013.

50th conviction

Kenny has 49 previous convictions including criminal damage, violent behaviour in a garda station and dangerous driving. He is currently serving a sentence for drug dealing and violent disorder.

The case was adjourned after evidence was heard last December to allow instructions be taken from the Director of Public Prosecutions as to where on the scale she believes this assault lies. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, yesterday told Judge Patricia Ryan that the DPP had instructed it was in the “most serious” range. She said “most serious” sentences for this offence ranged from seven-and-a-half to 12-and-a-half years.

Paul Greene SC, defending, submitted that these were sentences before the mitigating factors were taken into account. He asked the court to consider a significant suspended element or a sentence of less than what was described as the range.

Judge Ryan ordered a probation report and adjourned sentencing until 16 March next.

Evidence heard

In December, Garda David Redmond told the court that Mr Momoh was hit on the back of the head as he was walking towards Heuston Station having heard a someone calling him. He was punched to the face, stomach and chest before a passer-by intervened and pulled his attacker off him.

Mr Momoh crossed the road but two men continued to follow while gesticulating and shouting at him. He then recognised Kenny from an incident at a 21st birthday party the previous Saturday.

Kenny picked up a glass bottle, broke it off a nearby bin and swung it at Mr Momoh, hitting him in the eye.

Mr Momoh collapsed and came to a few minutes later with a woman putting a scarf over his eye to stem the blood. He lost consciousness again and woke up in the ambulance.

Gardaí used CCTV footage, particularly from the Criminal Courts of Justice, statements from independent witnesses and Mr Momoh’s identification to nominate Kenny as a suspect. He was arrested the following April in his girlfriend’s family home but nothing came out of his subsequent interviews with gardaí.

Victim impact

Mr Momoh told Ms Dempsey that since the attack he felt different and was scared of making eye contact with people. He felt as though he was being looked at with “judging faces” and it had affected his relationship with friends.

He said sometimes when he tried to go to sleep he recollected the events of the night. When he looked up at anyone it caused him unbearable pain and his behaviour was “not right” since the assault.

Mr Greene submitted there was a degree of cooperation and admissions as well as a plea of guilty. Counsel said Kenny had shown promise in his childhood and his family remained supportive of him.

Read: ‘Lonely’ woman who made Alan Kelly and Dáil bomb hoaxes also threatened Michael D Higgins

More: 20-year-old man found guilty of raping girl (14) at disco when he was 15

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Sonya McLean and Fiona Ferguson

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