herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Three years jail is 'not justice' say victims of Hellfire Club knifeman

Hell Fire Club
Hell Fire Club

A young man who was attacked and whose friend was almost killed while visiting a popular Dublin hiking spot, has said he is living in fear after a three-year jail term was handed down to his attacker.

Michael Corbett (28) was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday for attempting to murder a teenager and assaulting his two friends as they camped at the Hellfire Club on Dublin's Montpelier Hill on June 27, 2016.

However, Corbett had six years of the term suspended as he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time.

The father-of-one, of no fixed abode but with a previous address in Raheny, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Michael White yesterday praised Corbett's first victim, who had received a four-inch stab wound to his chest during the attack. He was also treated for blunt trauma to his head and lacerations to his face, neck and eye.

The judge said he had shown "considerable courage" on the day, when he was just short of his 18th birthday. His friends, a man and woman, were 18 and 19. They are not being named for legal reasons.

Justice White noted that all had suffered considerable stress, which he said was ongoing. He said that the first victim was "close to losing his life".

The young man and woman, who were assaulted after the attempted murder of their friend, spoke outside of their disappointment at the suspension of six years of his sentence.

Ridiculous

The young man described it as ridiculous. "It's law, not justice," he said, but added that he trusted the judge's opinion.

"I'm afraid of people, normal people," he said of the ongoing effects of the attack. "I shouldn't have to worry that someone might just hit me, completely unprovoked… We shouldn't have to be afraid."

The young woman said they were angry at the suspension of six years and that it was hard to come to court and see the man, who had attacked them.

"I can remember his eyes when he looked at me," she said. "I thought we were dead," she said, adding that she was thankful it had happened during the day and not in the dark of night.

They both felt they were lucky to be alive and thanked their families for their support.

Justice White noted medical reports, which showed that the accused was suffering from the severe mental disability, paranoid schizophrenia, at the time.

"He had responsibility that was quite significantly diminished by his illness," he added.

Corbett had severe difficulties historically, which had been severely exacerbated by his own behaviour, namely his abuse of alcohol and drugs, he said.

He said that it was appropriate to impose a substantial custodial sentence and suspend a substantial portion of it so that the accused could be supervised by probation services and be medically monitored.

Justice White imposed a sentence of nine years, with six years suspended on specific conditions to be finalised on receipt of a probation report on July 31. He remanded Corbett in custody until then.

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