A DUBLIN man who left a clamper with severe neurological damage after he struck his head with a lump hammer has been sentenced to 10 years with the final three suspended.
Gheorghe Pista was clamping Gerard Sweeney's girlfriend's car when Sweeney approached him shouting and swearing that he was not going to pay the fine.
He then went to the boot of the car, took out a lump hammer, came back to the front of the vehicle where Mr Pista and his colleague were, and struck him on the left side of his head.
Mr Pista sustained a fractured skull and later had to have a metal plate inserted. He was in a coma for seven weeks and a medical report before the court stated that he is now profoundly disabled.
He can only verbalise a few words and needs assistance to walk. He requires 24-hour care, which is provided by his sister and her partner.
Mr Pista's elderly parents and 10-year-old daughter live in his native country of Romania and he has seen very little of them since the attack.
Mr Pista's cousin, Dana, read a victim impact statement on behalf of the family, which had been prepared by Gheorghe's sister.
She said that her cousin has gone from "being a strong man to being a fragile child".
"He can't eat alone, shower alone, dress alone, he can barely walk. Today he is not even able to hug his little girl," Ms Pista said.
"Why did this happen to someone who is just doing their job?" she asked. "We hope that justice will be done today in this horrible case."
Sweeney (25) with addresses at St Mark's Avenue and High Grove, Mount Talbot, both in Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Mr Pista (38) in Werburgh Street, Dublin 8, on October 14, 2009.