09 Aug 2022

Laois man stabbed victim in hand and threatened to kill

Portlaoise man jailed for 'appalling' unprovoked assault

Court - Smashed garda patrol car outside Portlaoise courthouse

Portlaoise man who pulled knife and stabbed man in the hand jailed at the circuit court

A Portlaoise man who stabbed another man in the hand and threatened to kill him and burn down his house in an unprovoked assault has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison with the final six months suspended.

At Portlaoise Circuit Court, Darren Coss (26), with a listed address at 15 Cois na hAbhainn, Portlaoise, was charged with assault causing harm, threatening to kill, and production of an article, at Dr Murphy Place, Portlaoise, on August 11, 2017.

Detective Garda Michael O’Donovan gave evidence, along with State barrister, Mr Will Fennelly, that the injured party looked out of his window on that date to see the accused pulling at the wing mirror on his work truck, which was parked outside. 

The injured party went out and confronted him and a verbal exchange took place, before the accused produced a flick-knife and made a flicking gesture at the injured party’s face.

The injured party raised his hand in a defensive motion and was stabbed in the hand. The injured party shouted that he had been stabbed and the accused fled the scene.

Det O’Donovan said that the accused threatened to burn down the injured party’s house and truck, and was also shouting “You’re dead” at the injured party. Two others were with the accused at the time. Det O’Donovan said the injured party named the accused as the perpetrator and had known him all his life.

The injured party went to hospital having sustained a puncture type wound to the right hand.

The accused had 75 previous convictions, for offences including thefts, assaults, criminal damage and public order offences.

Det O’Donovan said the accused had acquired more convictions since this incident, with some sentences under appeal.

The detective described the accused as a chronic heroin addict who was well known to the gardaí.

In a victim impact statement, the injured party said that the accused had pulled a knife and stabbed him in a completely unprovoked incident. He said that he had suffered countless sleepless nights since, for fear that his house would be burnt down. He said he was out of work for three weeks and experienced depression and anxiety. His work has been affected as he lost contracts and had to let two colleagues go.

The 28-year-old man said this attack had been the most challenging episode he had ever had to overcome.

Defence barrister, Mr Thompson said that this incident represented a dramatic escalation in terms of the accused’s offending. He said that when the accused is off drugs, he is very much a different character.

Judge Keenan Johnson said the offence was an appalling state of affairs and wished the injured party well in his recovery.

He said that an extremely aggravating factor was that the accused had committed more offences since July of this year, when the court had given him compassionate leave to adjourn the current case as he had a very sick child.

Judge Johnson noted that the accused had been assessed by the probation services at a high risk of reoffending and had committed further offences while out on bail.

On the charge of making threats to kill, the accused was given a four years and six months sentence; for assault causing harm, he was given two years; and for production of an article he was given two years and six months, with all sentences to run concurrently.

This made a total of four years and six months in prison, with the final six months suspended for two years on condition the accused entered into a peace bond to keep the peace for six years post release; and he remains under probation supervision and stays drug free.

In relation to the district court appeals that the accused had pending, Judge Johnson said he would suspend these sentences on the same terms.

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