A Castletown man deserves four years in jail for his part in "a mob type of assault" on an off-duty garda in Mountrath in broad daylight, in which four males attacked the injured party with punches and kicks.
So said Judge Keenan Johnson this week in the case of Peter Fleming (26), Churchfield, Castletown, charged with assault causing harm, at Market Square, Mountrath, on July 11 last year.
However, the judge said he would be minded to take a year off due to the accused's cooperation and guilty plea, and he remanded the accused in custody to June 13 for sentencing.
Sgt Jason Hughes gave evidence at this week's circuit court, that the injured party, an off-duty garda, had been going between a local pub and the bookies when he encountered a group of males and there was a verbal exchange.
Sgt Hughes said that Fleming didn't throw the first punch, but he did inflict punches and kicks on the injured party while he was standing and lying on the ground.
The sergeant described it as "a vicious enough assault in broad daylight" that lasted less than a minute. He said that another member of the group threw a milkshake at the injured party.
"A milkshake was thrown and a punch was thrown and it started from there," said Sgt Hughes.
When arrested, Fleming acknowledged he had kicked and punched the garda, saying: "He was looking for it, but didn't deserve it, he provoked it."
The injured party suffered black eyes, bruising to his face, legs and arms, cuts to his knee, a fractured rib, and his head was swollen.
In a victim impact statement, the injured garda, who was out of work for one month, said he suffered anxiety and didn't sleep for three months after the attack.
He said he was now terrified to go out on his own and his confidence was completely gone. He also said there was an element of disbelief that this could happen to a garda on the street.
The accused had 56 previous convictions.
Defence for the accused, Mr Simon McDonald said that his client had spent the day in the park drinking. He drank eight bottles of Budweiser and also took drugs.
Defence said that Fleming claimed the garda had been "mouthing" at him. After one of the other males threw the milkshake, Fleming said he felt that male was going to be hit by the garda, so he grabbed the garda's arm and a scuffle started.
Defence admitted that the accused had displayed "certain challenging behaviours in the last few years" and had been diagnosed with behaviourial issues.
Judge Keenan Johnson described it as a very serious assault, "a mob type of assault".
"It's quite extraordinary and quite shocking that such an assault would happen in broad daylight," said Judge Johnson.
Saying he wanted time to consider the matter, the accused was remanded in custody to June 13 for sentencing.
He said that the offence warranted four years in jail, but he would take a year off for the accused's cooperation and guilty plea, and he would suspend some of that to put in place rehabilitation and treatment for his drug use.