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Judge warns of danger of one-punch assaults as college student avoids jail after he hit fellow student

A 21-year-old college student has been given a suspended sentence after causing injuries in an assault.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A 21-YEAR-OLD COLLEGE student has wept with relief after he was given a three year suspended sentence for a one-punch assault which led to a fellow student sustaining a skull fracture and an acute subdural haematoma.

Ciaran Allen appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court having spent two weeks in custody.

The presiding judge previously denied Allen bail in order to show him what prison would be like if he engaged in violent or reckless behaviour again.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin today warned Allen of Innishannon Road, Fair Hill, Cork city about the dangers of one-punch assaults which he said often caused life changing injuries.

The court heard that Allen punched Dylan O’Shaughnessy outside Deep South pub on Grand Parade, Cork, on 13 September 2019.

Brian Leahy, defence barrister, said that following the incident a deeply remorseful Allen immediately started putting away money from his part time work. He also borrowed funds in order to raise €5,000 compensation for the injured party.

He said he had never known a client to make such strenuous efforts to raise compensation in the aftermath of an assault.

Garda Patricia O’Riordan told the court that O’Shaughnessy went over to talk to a girl in his class in college, when Allen and another young man arrived and pushed him away.

Following a brief verbal encounter Allen punched the injured party in the face as he was walking away from him.

Dylan O’Shaughnessy landed on his head. He bled from his left ear and was unconscious for a period.

The injured party said that the night thing he remembered was waking up in hospital on a drip and covered in blood.

“I couldn’t open my right eye. I was extremely scared as I didn’t know what had happened and no one was with me at the time I woke up.

The doctors informed my parents that I should have been killed from four separate injuries and that I was extremely lucky to be alive. I had to stay in hospital for five days. I had a fracture to my right eye socket. The hospital scans confirmed I had acute subdural haematoma and a skull fracture.”

The injured party said he was left traumatised by the incident.

“From having no problems to having to deal with my mental health and physical health because of this is very saddening and frustrating for me.

“Ciaran Allen’s actions have caused me irreversible damage and I deal with the effects of the incident daily.

“I hope I can one day overcome this trauma but I fear I’ll be feeling these effects for the rest of my life.”

Brian Leahy, defence barrister, said the accused had worked as hard as he could to compensate the victim.

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He said his client was without previous convictions and had voluteered to save compensation money long before the case came to court.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said the damage done to the injured party was significant.

He said he remanded Allen in custody for two weeks before the sentencing hearing in order to open his eyes as to what would happen to him if he persisted in such behaviour. He acknowledged the efforts made by the defendant to raise compensation.

Leahy said his client had spent a “sobering” two weeks in custody and never intended to behave in this manner again.

Judge Ó Donnabháin added that he couldn’t over emphasise the danger of one-punch assaults which often led to closed head injuries.

“The consequences of these assaults can be dramatic and life changing. I have read the victim impact statement about the effect of the injury on him (the injured party). ”

Acknowledging the guilty plea, the compensation raised and the genuine remorse of the defendant the Judge jailed Allen for three years suspending the entirety of the sentence.

Allen vowed to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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