herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Brother and sister given six years for brutal attack

A BROTHER and sister who assaulted a man outside his home leaving him with extensive head and facial injuries have been jailed for six years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Emma O'Brien (29), of Old Connaught View, Bray, Co Wicklow, and Wesley O'Brien (22), of Ashlawn Court, also in Bray, had pleaded not guilty to assault causing serious harm to Michael Connors (47), possession of a hatchet with intent to cause serious injury and violent disorder at Old Connaught View on March 14, 2009.

The brother and sister were rearraigned in front of the jury on day three of the trial last December and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of intentionally causing harm to Mr Connors and to violent disorder.

The pleas were accepted and the charge of possession of a hatchet was dropped.

The court heard during the trial that Mr Connors had been left with potentially life-threatening injuries immediately after the assault.

He was brought to the emergency room by paramedics with a significantly swollen face, cuts to his head, a broken left wrist and bruising to his left side.

A scan of Mr Connors' head showed two depressed skull fractures and blood on the brain. He needed 18 stitches to the left side of his head and a further 17 stitches to the right side. He had extensive fractures to his cheekbones which were detached from the bottom of his brain.







Hatchet

Judge Patricia Ryan accepted the expressions of remorse from both the O'Briens and the "efforts they had made to rehabilitate" before she sentenced them to a concurrent term of three-and-half years for the assault and six years for the violent disorder.

In a victim impact report read to the court by Detective Garda Eamon O'Neill, Mr Connors, a former tree surgeon, said his "whole life has changed" since the assault and he cannot work anymore due to ongoing injuries and loss of balance as a result of the attack.

He suffers memory loss and attends a psychologist once a week.

During the trial, Mr Connors, told prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe that he was at the back of his house chopping sticks with a hatchet when he heard glass breaking and went to investigate.

Mr Connors said he was confronted by Emma O'Brien and he asked her what she had done to his window, which was broken, to which she replied "Get him, get him, get him."

Mr Connors said he was set upon by a group of people, including Wesley O'Brien, who he said "beat me and beat me and beat me until there was no life left in me".

hnews@herald.ie

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