Student avoids jail for breaking girl's jaw in street brawl
A college student who broke a young woman's jaw in a one-punch assault has been given a suspended sentence.
Leah Fay, then 18, intervened between Sean Flood (24) and a male friend to stop her friend getting hit, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
Flood pushed her down to the ground and when she got back up, he punched her.
The assault took place in Dublin city centre at night in the midst of a "rolling fight" between groups of young men.
The fights, which happened in the wake of an earlier match between local football clubs Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians, were described as "chaos on the streets" in court.
Flood, of Rathmines Close, Rathmines, Dublin, pleaded guilty to assault of Ms Fay causing her harm on D'Olier Street, Dublin, on May 16, 2015. He has four previous convictions for assaults and public order offences.
Sentencing Flood yesterday, Judge Gerard Griffin noted the serious injuries sustained by Ms Fay, whose jaw was broken in two places. The court heard she had to have steel plates inserted in the wake of the assault.
The judge said he would have imposed a headline sentence of three-and-a-half years but he noted that Flood had undergone "significant rehabilitation" since the offence. He handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence and suspended it on a number of conditions.
The court previously heard evidence that Flood's criminality was caused by his abuse of alcohol, which began with under-age drinking.
Defence counsel, Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, previously told the court that her client had taken steps since 2015 to address his drinking.
Ms Fay became upset in court when reading from her victim impact statement. She told the court she is receiving ongoing treatment and told Judge Griffin that she did not know how much this will end up costing.
Flood made an apology in open court and told the victim: "It's killing me inside that I could cause any of the effects I've caused to you."
Ms Lawlor asked the court to accept her client's apology.
She said he had taken €4,000 to court to offer the victim as a token of his remorse.
He worked part-time in a bar and came from an honest, hard-working family which was not of any great means.
Ms Lawlor said that Ms Fay was an innocent victim who got caught in a rolling fight in the city centre that night.
She said that Flood had recently been released from prison for previous offending and had not drunk for a while.