Judge urges young people to think before they hit out

A district court judge has urged young people “to think before they hit out” as serious injury can be caused if someone falls in the wrong way.

Noting that a single punch can lead to much more serious injuries, Judge Mary Fahy was speaking at Monday’s sitting of Galway District Court after hearing how a man’s nose was broken in a needless assault.

Justin Brown (29 ) with an address at Kilroe, Ballybooby, Cahir, Tipperary, who pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Eyre Square on July 30, 2011. The court heard that at 3.40am two groups were walking in the opposite direction when one man suddenly struck out and hit another in the face, a blow that resulted in a fractured nose.

Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that his client had fully co-operated with gardai and that it was totally out of character. He explained that Brown’s friend had become embroiled in an altercation with a member of the other group. Brown then tried to intervene but was struck in the side of the head. Mr MacLynn then explained that Brown “lashed out”. The court then heard that Brown, who has previous convictions for road traffic offences and owns his own retail business, is very apologetic for his behaviour.

The injured party, a 22-year-old native of Ballinasloe, said that he had been out with friends and had been walking through Eyre Square when the incident occured. He explained that the two groups met, words were exchanged, and he “got a box in the nose”. The injury required an operation to straighten the nose and damage had been caused to the sinuses. He later added that since the assault he has “not come near” Galway city centre.

“He [the defendent] should have passed on and forgot what words were said. This is the type of behaviour we see with young teenagers. At 29 he should have more sense. This shouldn’t have happened, there is little or no excuse for it. This young man has been traumatised by this. Had he fallen in a different way he wouldn’t be here. Young people need to think before they hit out,” said Judge Fahy.

Mr MacLynn then said that his client had brought into court a sum of €2,000 to offer as compensation to which the injured party replied: “My bills alone were more than €2,000”.

Judge Fahy ordered that the €2,000 be handed over to gardai to pass onto the injured party before adjourning the case to March 4 next to allow time to evaluate if more compensation is to be paid. An order for all bills and receipts to be handed over was made.

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