Tuesday 21 January 2020

One-punch killer who had 20 shots on night of attack waits on sentence

Jack Hall Ellis pleaded guilty
Jack Hall Ellis pleaded guilty

A 22-year-old man will have to wait until next week to learn what sentence he will serve for the manslaughter of a Dublin student in a one-punch assault two years ago.

Labourer Jack Hall Ellis, of Old Court Mill, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to the fatal assault on Luke O'Brien O'Reilly (20) in the early hours of November 1, 2017.

The victim, from the Kiltipper estate, west Dublin, was attacked after being out socialising with friends on Halloween night.

Mr O'Reilly and a pal were on the Old Blessington Road in Tallaght village when he was assaulted by Hall Ellis.

The accused told gardai he was acting in "drunkenness and anger" when he attacked without warning.

Mr O'Reilly fell and hit his head on the ground, causing brain injuries that led to his death in hospital two weeks later.

Hall Ellis pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in April.

The court heard he ran over and hit Mr O'Reilly once on the right side of the head in what was described by one of the victim's friends as a "sly dig".

Hall Ellis went to gardai voluntarily and was interviewed.

He told officers that Mr O'Reilly had flirted with his girlfriend the previous week and he was annoyed because he thought they were friends.

He said he hit Mr O'Reilly, and accepted that the victim did not see the punch coming and could not defend himself.

Hall Ellis had drunk seven to 10 double rums that night.


Yesterday, Judge Melanie Greally received copies of letters and references from Hall Ellis, his family and previous employers and educators, submitted by his barrister Michael Bowman.

The letters included one from the accused himself in which he expressed remorse, and one from his mother to Mr O'Reilly's mother, Janet, expressing her devastation and heartbreak.

Mr Bowman said Hall Ellis had been raised in a family where his parents separated 10 years ago, and after finishing school he had begun an apprenticeship in carpentry and gone on to become a labourer.

He put forward mitigating circumstances for sentencing, including that Hall Ellis had pleaded guilty, expressed genuine remorse, had no previous serious convictions, had co-operated with gardai and volunteered himself to them.

He added that he was a young man of good character with a history of education and employment.

Judge Greally said there had been a proliferation of cases where people had died or been seriously injured in one-punch attacks in recent years.

Mr Bowman said Hall Ellis "takes full responsibility" for what had happened, and expressed that Mr O'Reilly had no contribution to the attack.

"Nobody intended for these tragic consequences to unfold," he said.

Judge Greally remanded Hall Ellis in continuing custody until June 28 for sentencing.

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