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Man deemed unfit to stand trial on a number of alleged assaults

The court heard the defendant lost his leg a few years ago after he was knocked down by a lorry.

Image: Shutterstock

A MAN SUFFERING from an acquired brain injury has been deemed unfit to stand trial on a number of alleged assaults.

The 34-year-old man was facing trial for the alleged assault of a nurse manager at a hospital A&E in November 2015. He was also facing allegations of unprovoked attacks on pedestrians in Dublin city centre in which he allegedly struck a man and a woman in the face on respective dates in February and March 2017.

After deeming him unfit to plead, Judge Karen O’Connor placed an interim order preventing the publication of his identity until his position as a ward of the court was clarified. This is to be revisited in four weeks time, she said.

Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, had brought an application before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to have his client deemed unfit to stand trial.

He told the court that this was “an extremely sad case” and that his client was aged 14 when he was a passenger in a car that crashed into a police car in England. He suffered a significant injury to his brain as a result.

He presented the court with medical reports from two consultant psychiatrists in which both doctors said that the defendant is unfit to plead due to his acquired brain injury.

The court heard the defendant lost his leg a few years ago after he was knocked down by a lorry.

In his report, Dr Anthony Kearns, based in the Central Mental Hospital, said that the man could not recall any of the alleged assaults and showed very little understanding of the purpose or consequences of a guilty plea.

He said he knew the time and date but thought Enda Kenny was still the Taoiseach and was “slightly out on US presidents”.

He said the defendant had “very little comprehension of the court proceedings” and required long term assessment and support.

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Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, told the court that the complainants in the alleged assaults were aware of the proceedings and “appreciated” the position of the defendant.

Judge O’Connor said that the issue of the reporting restriction could be re-mentioned and that she was making the order today to clarify the legal position.

“I would never lightly interfere with the freedom of the press,” she said.

About the author:

Declan Brennan

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