An Athlone woman has been given a two year suspended sentence for assault causing harm for an incident Judge Tony Hunt described as disgusting and repulsive.
During the unprovoked assault, a Leaving Cert student was swung by the hair and smashed into a steel pole and will require ongoing extensive, painful, and expensive dental treatment, Mullingar Circuit Court has heard.
Sentencing Elaine Greene, Ashford, Monksland, Athlone, Judge Hunt said the offence deserved a prison sentence, but that would be of no benefit to the victim who has already paid more than €12,000 in medical and other expenses.
On May 10, 2010 the teenager was crossing Church Street, Athlone to get a taxi home from a nightclub when Greene, who was in a row with another woman, caught her by the hair and swung her 360 degrees, smashing her face against a pole.
Greene did not know the victim who lost consciousness for a number of minutes and suffered head and neck injuries.
The teenager lost two teeth and damage to bone in her jaw means she will require serious ongoing dental treatment, including the possibility of bone grafting.
Detective Sergeant Eamon Curley said Greene had been unable to explain why she assaulted the teenager, but apologised soon afterwards.
He read a victim impact statement outlining how the victim had around 50 medical appointments during the year she sat her Leaving Cert, missing considerable school time which had to be made up later.
The girl was angry that such an incident could happen when she was just going for a taxi and worried about future painful, invasive surgery which may not be successful.
A college student now, she was afraid to go out after the assault.
Shane Geraghty BL said Greene, who has no previous convictions and is well educated with qualifications in business and childcare, hadn’t intended to hurt the teenager.
However, Judge Hunt insisted that hurt was intended to someone, if not the actual victim.
The incident was an aberration he said, offering €5,000 part compensation immediately and the promise of further compensation.
Greene apologised, saying she knew the incident had been “horrendous” for the victim and her family.
Judge Hunt said a prison sentence is warranted when a young, attractive girl has her teeth smashed up and will have medical issues and costs in the future.
He said Greene seemed reluctant to face up to the rage which caused her to fling the teenager “like a ragdoll”, and he opted to suspend a two year sentence for two years if Greene pays a total of €16,000 towards the teenager’s medical costs by June 17.