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Saturday 10 December 2016

Luas passenger had eye socket broken in bottle attack by thug

Stock photo
Stock photo

A man who took part in a violent assault on a Luas passenger has been jailed for four years with the final two years suspended.

Aaron Collins (24) hit the victim in the eye with a bottle of beer, and later smashed the bottle downwards on the head of the dazed man, who had earlier been assaulted by his two co-accused.

Collins, of Elmdale Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder, assault causing harm and producing a bottle of Budweiser in the course of a fight on an outbound Luas red line between the Smithfield and Museum stops on December 11, 2014.

Two co-accused, Aoife Molloy (24) and Martin O'Connor (25), were given partially suspended four-year sentences from Judge James O'Donohue in January last.

Molloy had the final 18 months suspended and O'Connor had the final two years suspended.

Molloy's sentence was later reduced to four years with the final two suspended on appeal, the court heard yesterday.

Snapped

The victim, Noel O'Rourke (46), had fallen to the ground when the Luas jolted and was kicked by Molloy as he tried to get up. Molloy and O'Connor claimed they "snapped" when their victim then "retaliated".

The court heard Collins believed his two friends were being assaulted and became involved in the violence in a "misguided act of chivalry".

Mr O'Rourke suffered a fractured eye socket as well as wounds to his scalp and lip. He was in court for the sentence.

Judge Patricia Ryan said the victim still suffered an "enormous amount of pain".

The court heard Collins had 36 previous convictions, but none for violence. He is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence for a drug offence.

The defence said it was Collins' view that his friends had been assaulted. She said that he had been drinking and the decision-making process was blurred.

She said he did not arm himself, but already had the bottle in his hand.

Counsel said she had been instructed to apologise to the victim and that Collins had written a letter of apology. She said Collins did not realise the extent of the assault when he left the Luas.

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