A man who attacked a long-standing friend after a night out and then tried to get into the River Liffey has received a fully suspended sentence.
Colin Doyle (26) and Tiarnan Ollry had been walking home when a conversation between them became heated.
Garda Emma Gleeson told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that Doyle turned to Mr Ollry and said “hit me and I’ll put you to the ground”. Mr Ollry later told the gardaí he recalled replying “I’d love to but I won’t” before he “came to” on the ground.
He then spotted Doyle with one leg over the quay wall on his way into the River Liffey and asked a passer-by to help his friend. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and Doyle was helped by a passer-by and put into a taxi.
Gda Gleeson said Mr Ollry initially told gardaí that he didn’t want to make a complaint about the assault or identify his attacker “because he didn’t want to get him into trouble”. He later contacted gardaí and made a formal complaint.
Doyle was arrested and was remorseful and co-operated with the garda investigation. He admitted punching his friend and said he thought he kicked him. He saw blood and wanted to jump into the river because he couldn’t believe what he had done.
Gda Gleeson said Mr Ollry was discharged after an overnight stay in accident and emergency but returned a few days later when he had to undergo surgery to repair damage to his face. He had multiple facial fractures and his nose had to be re-set.
Doyle of Woodview, Lucan, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in Dublin City Centre on May 10, 2019.
Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case having first heard evidence last March. She ordered a report from the Probation Service to determine if Doyle would be a suitable candidate for community service and restorative justice.
The judge said at that hearing that the injuries suffered were very serious and the impact on Mr Ollry severe but said there was “an abundance of mitigation” from the accused’s point of view.
“It is a very difficult case,” she said.
On Thursday she said the wider implication of the assault was the disintegration of the social circle which both Doyle and Mr Ollry were central to and the estrangement of their respective families.
Mr Berry told the court that the victim no longer wishes to engage in any restorative justice scheme.
Judge Greally sentenced Doyle to three years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions including that he not come into “prolonged and deliberate contact” with Mr Ollry.
She also ordered that €10,000 which was offered by the accused as “a token of his remorse” be handed over the the injured party.
At the previous sentencing hearing in March, Gda Gleeson accepted that Doyle has no previous convictions and is otherwise a person of good character.
In a victim impact statement Mr Ollry said he needed an operation after he got punches and kicks to the head. He has since suffered short term memory loss and experiences mood swings. He finds himself more irritable and distant.
He said his quality of life has been heavily impacted as he has fallen out with friends, is depressed and feels isolated.
Mr Ollry said he has seen Doyle a few times in the local area and claimed that the man never said anything to him. He said he can still see a spot in his left eye which is a constant reminder of what happened.
“I still don’t know why he did that to me,” Mr Ollry concluded in his statement.
Gda Gleeson agreed with Rebecca Smith BL, defending, that this is “genuinely a once off incident” for Doyle and he always made it clear he was going to plead guilty. She acknowledged that he has written a letter of apology and is remorseful.
Ms Smith handed in various reports and testimonials that speak of his good character.
She said her client had saved half of the €10,000 himself by putting money away every week because he always intended to cover the medical bills.
Ms Smith said Doyle has since suffered panic attacks and no longer drinks alcohol. “He still doesn’t know why he did what he did. He acknowledges that he lost his best friend,” counsel continued.
She said Doyle felt he could not speak to Mr Ollry when he met him in the local area because of the ongoing proceedings.