“Why don’t I just send him to prison now?” asked Judge Tony Hunt, of a Portlaoise man convicted of assault causing harm whose barrister requested intervention for the man’s drink problem.
William Maguire, Millbrook, Portlaoise, caused severe head injuries to the victim, after assaulting him in the grounds of St Fintan’s Hospital, Portlaoise, on September 18, 2010.
Detective Garda Brian Kennedy gave evidence that Maguire met a Polish gentleman and went drinking in the grounds of the hospital. They both overindulged until Maguire became “stupefied”. A disagreement ensued and Maguire assaulted the man, using his fists and feet. The man was admitted to hospital with severe head injuries.
Dec Kennedy said the injured party had “made somewhat of a recovery”.
Maguire has a number of previous convictions.
Defence, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said that the precise events of the assault were unclear to Maguire. She said Maguire had stayed to assist the ambulance staff when they arrived.
“He believed he was assisting, yes,” replied Dec Kennedy.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that Maguire has had an alcohol addiction since his early teens, and has re-engaged with Cuan Mhuire addiction services,
Judge Hunt said it was “not a trivial matter”, as there had been serious injuries. He said it would be a futile exercise to impose a bail condition on Maguire, ordering him to abstain from alcohol. He suggested simply sending Maguire to prison.
Ms Fitzpatrick asked the judge to afford Maguire the benefit of professional intervention. The judge retorted that Maguire should maybe do a little time.
“Then he can say to himself, ‘No, I don’t want to go back there’,” said Judge Hunt.
Ms Fitzpatrick replied that such “a level of rationality” might not sit right with what was indicated in the psychiatric report on her client.
“Any rational person might learn a lesson from time in custody, but he would benefit from supervision in the community,” she said.
Ruling that it had been a middle-scale assault, Judge Hunt imposed a two-year sentence, suspended for two years on a peace bond of €300. Maguire must continue to attend Cuan Mhuire and AA meetings. He must attend the probation services for nine months, and remain under the supervision of his doctor.