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'Hero' sergeant hit student in face and left him with scar

A DECORATED army sergeant who punched a college student in the chin, leaving him bleeding and with a permanent scar, has avoided a conviction.

Andrew Brennan (36) lost his temper and gave Bentley Ellison an upper cut with his fist after the victim and his college friends repeatedly failed to leave the car park of a southside Dublin pub.

Mr Ellison, a student in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, had just attended the college's annual graduate show, and he and his friends were taking a shortcut through a pub car park on their way to a house party in Monkstown.

Dun Laoghaire District Court heard that Brennan was working as a part-time bouncer at the time of the assault.

His lawyer said Brennan has been in the army for 14 years and has completed six trips aboard, including two trips to Kosovo. He said a conviction would have a serious impact on Brennan's future career.

Judge Clare Leonard accepted the assault was uncharacteristic behaviour for Brennan, who had shown remorse for what he did. She struck out the charge.

Brennan, of Carriglea Gardens, Kill Avenue, in Dun Laoghaire, was previously found to have seriously assaulted Mr Ellison at Baker's Corner, Kill O The Grange, on June 3, 2011.

Party

Mr Ellison gave evidence that he had attended a graduate show at IADT.

He met some of his friends in the car park of Baker's Corner, and they were all heading to a house party.

Mr Ellison said Brennan came over and told him and his friends to move on a number of times, but there was a big group of people and it took them a while to organise themselves.

He said Brennan then punched him in the face, leaving him with a cut to his chin. He said he was in shock.

He was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where he received stitches to the wound.

In his evidence, Brennan had claimed he felt a push to his right shoulder, so he turned around with his hands up and hit Mr Ellison's arm. Mr Ellison was holding a can and it hit his face.

But Judge Leonard had ruled against him.

Defence lawyer said that Brennan was sorry for his behaviour and had €200 in court as a token of his remorse. He only got married three weeks ago.

He asked the judge to leave Brennan without a conviction, as it would have serious consequences for his army career.

Judge Leonard struck out the charge.

hnews@herald.ie