herald

Friday 20 April 2018

Man guilty of attack on Irish tourist in Oz

A MAN has been found guilty of assaulting an Irish tourist in Australia, leaving him with life-changing injuries.

Daniel Byrne (21) stood trial this week for allegedly punching Timothy McCarthy, then 40, in the head outside a Quick n'Go shop in Canberra in the early hours of Sunday, July 24, 2011.

CCTV footage showed Mr McCarthy from Killarney, Co Kerry, falling and smashing his head on the ground after being hit by Byrne.

He suffered serious head injuries which left him in an induced coma for seven days.

Byrne argued that he was acting in self defence, but Chief Justice Helen Murrell said she placed "no weight on the evidence of the accused".

After the attack, Byrne walked away from the scene as Mr McCarthy lay motionless on the ground.

Mr McCarthy was rushed to hospital with severe swelling in his brain.

Ms Justice Murrell handed down her judgment, finding Byrne guilty of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

A neurosurgeon who treated Mr McCarthy said he would have died without immediate treatment, and had almost certainly suffered long-term effects.

Byrne was arrested the following day, after police discovered him hiding in his garage.

He was subsequently charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

DISMISSED

Byrne denied the allegations and claimed the victim was about to punch him.

However, this was dismissed by the court.

Byrne claimed he had been standing outside the shop with a group, when an intoxicated Mr McCarthy had approached them and started "hugging" them.

Byrne took exception to this and claimed an argument started between the pair.

He claimed the victim invited him to fight him.

His barrister, Anthony Hopkins, said the accused then punched Mr McCarthy in "an instinctive, split-second reaction" to deal with the threat.

But this evidence was rejected by Ms Justice Murrell who found all of Byrne's evidence, as well as that of his friend, to be unreliable.

She found the punch was "intentionally powerful''.

Byrne was released on bail, and will be sentenced in February.

hnews@herald.ie

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