18 months for assaults

Judge Catherine Staines
A 26-year-old man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for three assaults, one of which was against the mother of his seven-month-old daughter who he threatened with a knife.

A 26-year-old man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for three assaults, one of which was against the mother of his seven-month-old daughter who he threatened with a knife.

Before the court was Hector Shepherd, originally from the UK but now with an address at 91 Rinuccini, Dublin Road, Portlaoise.

He faced one count of assault and the production of an article in the course of a dispute, at Lake Edge, Kilminchy, on August 22 last year; and two counts of assault causing harm, at Main Street, Portlaoise, on September 29. He was was also charged with failing to appear in court, on December 20.

Garda Inspector Martin Harrington told the court that on August 22, Shepherd and his partner, a Ms Lacey Walsh, were walking into Portlaoise town with their infant daughter when an argument ensued. Ms Walsh left the child with Shepherd and returned home.

The court heard that when Shepherd arrived at the house he assaulted her a number of times and locked her in the bathroom for an hour. When he finally opened the door, Shepherd was holding both the baby and a knife. Ms Walsh left the house, but Shepherd followed her outside with the knife and the incident continued at Lake Edge.

In relation to the offences on September 29, Shepherd was in a local night club when an argument ensued over drinks.

He was ejected from the night club, and later when the two men he had the argument with left the club, Shepherd assaulted them. He struck one man and knocked him to the ground, before he knocked the other man out straight away.

He then turned back to the first man and kicked him on the ground a number of times. The first man received the more serious injuries as he was kicked in the head.

Inspector Harrington said that neither injured party could remember the attack and witness evidence had been given to the gardaí by a taxi driver.

Shepherd has a number of previous convictions in the UK, including threats to kill, assault causing harm and drugs.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick admitted that her client, a 26-year-old with “a wealth of serious offences”, had serious issues over anger management. Ms Fitzpatrick said that Shepherd had expressed remorse to his partner, and while Ms Walsh did not condone his behaviour she “sees the good in him”.

With regards to September 22, Ms Fitzpatrick explained that an argument had occurred inside the night club and when Shepherd left the club, he perceived his partner to be under threat.

Judge Staines said these were very serious assaults, particularly the assault on the man who was kicked in the head on the ground.

“(Shepherd) is fortunate he’s not before the court on a manslaughter charge,” she said.

The judge imposed a six-month sentence on each assault charge, to run consecutively. This brings Shepherd’s total jail time to 18 months. The charge of having a knife during a dispute was taken into consideration.

Recognizance was fixed in the event of an appeal.

“I’d seriously advise doing some anger management course in prison,” Judge Staines warned Shepherd.