Teen gets ten months for knocking security guard unconscious

A teenager who violently assaulted a shop security guard, knocking him unconscious, was sentenced to 10 months in jail at Galway District Court this week.

Nineteen-year-old James Barrett with an address at 46 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy on Monday having pleaded guilty at a previous court sitting to assault causing harm, contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, at Centra, Bothar An Choiste, Headford Road, on April 27 last.

The injured party, a student who had been working part-time as a security man at the store, described how Barrett attempted to flee the store after being caught shoplifting. The injured party gave chase but when he caught up to Barrett he was assaulted.

“I went after him. He turned around and punched me. I fell to the ground and lost consciousness,” said the injured party, who admitted that he would have preferred not to have come to court and that although he has made a recovery he is now more wary and apprehensive of people.

Judge Fahy noted that the assault was certainly in the more “serious realm” and that it was perpetrated on someone who was trying to do his job.

Defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd explained how Barrett married at a young age and turned to alcohol when the relationship broke up. She added that Barrett, a father of one, had been highly intoxicated on the night in question and is extremely remorseful and ashamed of himself for carrying out the assault.

“This was a student trying to do an honest day’s work. This unfortunate young man has had to deal with this violence perpetrated on him,” said Judge Fahy who then noted that Barrett would not be before the court if he tried to do a few days honest work himself instead of using his strength in this way.

Judge Fahy also accused Barrett of being “self serving” in pleading guilty, as “he had wanted the court to let him out to be the best man at a wedding”. “That’s what he thought of what he had done to this man,” she said.

For the assault causing harm Barrett was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail. For a separate offence of shoplifting in Boots Barrett received three months, to run concurrently, and for three counts of failing to appear in court he was sentenced to a further two months in jail.

Leave to appeal was granted with own surety set at €600, one half to be lodged, and independent surety of €3,000, one half to be lodged with 48 hours notice given. Conditions of bail include no contact to be made in any manner with the injured party, to stay away from Centra, Bothar An Choiste, and to be of good behaviour.

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