A man who hit a music teacher over the head with a pool cue suffers from treatment-resistant schizophrenia and delusionally believed something untoward had happened between them, a court has heard.
Sean Foster (21) of Rutland Grove, Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at St Joseph’s Adolescent Unit, Fairview, on January 5, 2015.
He also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Oak Ward, Phoenix House Care Centre, North Circular Road, on April 7, 2017.
Judge Cormac Quinn sentenced him to 18 months’ imprisonment for the former assault and suspended the final six months on condition he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months post-release, that he follow all directions of his doctors and that he remain drug-free.
Judge Quinn also sentenced him to 12 months’ imprisonment for the latter assault. Foster will serve both sentences concurrently.
The court heard that Foster suffers from treatment-resistant schizophrenia and that he had been an in-patient St Joseph’s in 2015, at the time of the assault.
Foster hit Dean McEvoy, a music teacher working in the hospital, over the head with a pool cue and then struck him a second time. Such was the force of the attack that the pool cue broke.
In a victim impact statement, Mr McEvoy said his skull had been fractured and an artery had been severed in his brain.
He said he suffered from PTSD since the incident and that it had put a strain on his professional life.
The court heard that Foster had been staying at Phoenix House in 2017 and had arrived back late.
It was ascertained that he had been smoking cannabis and had to be restrained and secluded.
During this incident, Foster attacked the staff and punched Michael Kelly in the face, resulting in his tooth being knocked out.
Mr Kelly said in a victim impact statement that he required 20 hours of dental work which cost €7,500.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said it was the view of Foster’s doctor that he required intensive treatment for six months to a year and that such treatment was only available at Dundrum Central Mental Hospital.
Mr Spencer suggested that Mountjoy Prison be allowed to liaise with Dundrum to provide his client with treatment.
He said that at the time of the first assault, Foster had been under the delusional belief that something untoward had happened between himself and Mr McEvoy.
Judge Quinn said the aggravating factors in the cases were their unprovoked nature and the serious injuries inflicted.
He said the mitigating factors were Foster’s age, his lack of previous convictions, his early pleas and his history of mental illness.
Judge Quinn remarked that his mother was very devoted to caring for him.