Man jailed for assault which left his victim traumatised

by Gazette Reporter

By Sonya McLean

A man has been jailed for two years for an assault which left the victim so traumatised that he dropped out of his college course and didn’t get his degree.

Dean Fitzpatrick (28) punched David Curran as he was leaving a fast food restaurant at the end of a night out in Dublin city. The victim said that the last thing he remembered before waking up in hospital was walking out onto Grafton street.

Fitzpatrick of Pearse Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at Grafton Street on February 15, 2017.

Mr Curran was treated for a broken nose, three fractures in his jaw and a fracture above his eye. He needed surgery to insert plates into his jaw and received many stitches to his face to cuts from the attack and to wounds that were necessary because of the surgery.

In a victim impact statement he stated that he had attended for counselling after the assault. He said he had previous mental health problems but his anxiety and depression significantly increased because of the attack.

Mr Curran said his social life has been “hit hard” and he had dropped out of college. “I lost out on my degree,” the statement continued.

He said he had a number of teeth removed, had spent seven months recovering and still has nerve damage at the back of his head which he hit when he fell after being punched by Fitzpatrick.

Judge Melanie Greally suspended the final 12 months of a sentence of a three and a half years imprisonment on condition that Fitzpatrick engage with the Probation Services for 12 months and particularly with addiction treatment.

Garda Paul Jordan told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that when he arrived on the scene Mr Curran had blood coming from his nose and mouth and found it difficult to speak.

Mr Curran’s friend later told gardaí that he was outside McDonalds on Grafton Street when he heard some roaring and shouting before he saw someone hitting the victim. He said Mr Curran “fell like a sack of potatoes” and he called an ambulance.

Gda Jordan said Mr Curran had been on a college night out during which they went to a nightclub. He and some friends headed to McDonalds afterwards for food and he was chatting to a group of girls he had been speaking to earlier in the night.

Mr Curran decided to head home and left McDonalds. He said the “last thing I remembered is walking out the door before waking up in James Street hospital”.

Gda Jordan said Fitzpatrick’s 70 previous convictions include assault, theft, public order and road traffic offences.

Gda Jordan agreed with Michael Hourigan BL, defending, that his client claimed that there had been some words exchanged between Mr Curran and himself and Fitzpatrick’s friend “but it is not clear” what was said.

Mr Hourigan said this “exchange” was no justification for his client’s behaviour.

Gda Jordan agreed that Fitzpatrick had originally done well in school and sport but changed schools as an older teenager, started hanging around with “a bad crowd” and became “encapsulated into drug use”.

Counsel said his client has since started attending residential drug treatment and has remained drug free. He had €1,100 in court as a token of his remorse and is hopeful of full-time employment on completion of his treatment, when he indicated that he will save half of his wages for Mr Curran.

James Murray of the Irish Nautical Trust said he works with young men in the area who are experiencing difficulties with the law or addiction.

Mr Murray told Mr Hourigan that Fitzpatrick had done some preliminary work with the trust to determine if he is a suitable candidate for one of their programmes.

He said Fitzpatrick worked very hard, coming in at weekends and staying on for extended hours and that he would be taken on as part of a programme with the Trust as soon as he is finished his drug treatment programme.

Mr Murray described Fitzpatrick as “an ideal candidate for the programme” and said he would most likely get employment in the ports once he had successfully completed it.

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