€4k or jail for €50 drug debt face slasher

A youth who slashed a man’s face over a drug debt so he could buy his child a Christmas present was given just a week to raise €4,000 in compensation, otherwise “you’re going to prison”.

On Wednesday (June 25 ) Inspector Nicholas Farrell outlined how Brian Malone (19 ), with addresses at St Anne’s Terrace and Beechpark West, Athlone, had called on Christmas Eve, 2012 to an address in Railway View Terrace where the injured party lived with his mother.

An altercation ensued over the alleged debt, and the named victim was slashed from the cheekbone to the top of his upper lip, leaving a 14-stitch scar that Judge Seamus Hughes described as “horrendous”.

In his evidence the now 20-year-old victim admitted getting the €50 bag of cannabis from Malone, and that he had admitted this to his mother who had been in the house at the time of the attack.

Malone’s solicitor, Mr Dara Hayden, told the court his client was just 17 at the time, and was “under financial pressure” as he had recently become a father and “wanted to buy a gift for the child”.

He went on to argue that his client claimed he didn’t bring the knife to the altercation, blaming the injured party for this, and he claimed he recieved the first wound - a cut to the hand.

Inspector Farrell accepted Malone was also injured, but that Gardaí never recovered the weapon.

“I didn’t even knock!” exclaimed Malone.

“You’re going to jail. You’re trying to tell me this young man left his mother’s apron strings, and answered the door with a Stanley knife, and then something happens the knife in the struggle, and this man gets badly scarred for life? And now, a year and a half later, and you’ve not brought a cent [of compensation] into court?” queried the judge.

Spotting this open door, Mr Hayden made an overture towards the possibility of making such an offer.

“OK. I’ll go down that road for 30 seconds. How much are you going to offer? Shall we say €4,000? If this was a civil case he’d get €20,000,” opined Judge Hughes.

Mr Hayden explained to the court that his client’s only source of income was €100 per week from the social welfare, while his accompanying father drew just €188 from the same source, and that it would be “unrealistic to expect this to be raised”.

However, after a small adjournment til the afternoon, Mr Hayden told the judge that Malone’s father said he would try to raise the sum from family, and the judge gave him until July 2 to do this.

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