herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Bank worker blinded medical student in one eye in pint-glass attack

Courts

Robert Jones
Robert Jones

A bank worker who blinded a medical student in one eye after assaulting him with a pint glass has received a suspended sentence of 18 months.

Robert Jones (26) pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Palace nightclub, Camden Street, Dublin city, on July 20, 2014.

After the assault Jones told gardai that the victim, Brian Murphy, had repeatedly made "throat-cut" gestures at him, drawing his thumb across his throat.

He said Mr Murphy then came close to him and made the gesture again. Jones said he instinctively threw his right hand at him and forgot he was holding a glass.

He said he thought Mr Murphy was going to hit him and felt threatened. He said it was completely instinctive and he had a rush of adrenaline and a "fight or flight feeling".

The victim told gardai he had done nothing to provoke Jones and had not spoken to him before the assault. In his victim- impact statement he wrote: "I did nothing to deserve this."

Flashes

Mr Murphy - of Ennis Road, Limerick - said that the assault changed his life forever. He lost sight in his left eye and still suffered flashes of light in his vision.

The fourth-year Trinity college medical student said that he asked his own doctors soon after the assault if he would still be able to do surgery.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that two women who were in Jones' company on the night gave statements to gardai that the victim had been "lurking around", "drunk and messy" and had made the throat-cut gestures at Jones.

Judge John Aylmer said he was making no determination on whether there was any provocation to the assault.

But he said that having regard to some witnesses at the scene who stated there was provocation, he was legally bound to give Jones the benefit of that doubt.

In sentencing Jones Judge Aylmer noted his previous impeccable character and said that there was no question of rehabilitation required as there was no likelihood of Jones - of Glenview Park, Tallaght, Dublin - re-offending.

He said the assault was entirely spontaneous and not premeditated.

Finally, as regards mitigating factors, he noted Jones had brought €8,000 to court as a token of remorse and that the victim was pursuing compensation in a civil action.

He said Jones, who is employed by AIB, had a very promising career and would be "a mark for compensation in the future" for the victim to pursue.

He pointed out that a custodial sentence would likely destroy Jones' career prospects, which would affect the victim's ability to seek civil compensation from him.

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