Saturday 18 January 2020

Five-a-side player who split ex-pro's kidney spared jail

Petru Pinto outside court. Photo: Collins
Petru Pinto outside court. Photo: Collins

A former professional soccer player who unintentionally split another player's kidney in a "dangerous tackle" during a five-a-side game has been given a suspended sentence.

Petru Pinto (50), of Bellgree Boulevard, Tyrrelstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to reckless assault causing harm in Ellenfield Park, Santry, Dublin, on November 16, 2012.

A jury failed to reach a verdict on a charge of intentionally assaulting Paul Ceusan causing him harm after a trial on November 30, 2018.

Pinto subsequently pleaded guilty to an amended indictment which stated that the assault had been reckless rather than intentional.

Yesterday Judge Pauline Codd sentenced Pinto to two- and-a-half years in prison which she suspended in full on condition that he pay a sum of €5,000 to the victim within three years.

She said Pinto's actions "were well beyond the limits expected in a game". She added that it was "a dangerous tackle" and an injury was to be expected.

"He showed a conscious disregard for the potential of his actions," Judge Codd added.

She accepted that Pinto had previous convictions for minor road traffic offences, had not come to garda attention since and had expressed remorse.

At the previous sentence hearing, Detective Garda Ronan Cogavil said Pinto had a heated verbal exchange with Mr Ceusan during the match.

Pinto, who works as a painter and decorator, ran in the direction of Mr Ceusan and jumped with his knees raised. His knees collided with Mr Ceusan's torso, causing him to fall to the ground.

Mr Ceusan suffered a grade-four renal injury, also called a "split kidney", requiring a stent to be inserted from his kidney to his bladder.


In a victim impact statement, Mr Ceusan said he had lost 25pc of kidney function. He said his medical costs were €1,350 and he was not able to work for around 20 weeks.

Det Gda Cogavil agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that both men were members of Transylvania FC, a club set up by Pinto and his friends for Romanians living in Dublin.

Pinto and Mr Ceusan both played professional soccer in Romania.

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