The man responsible for an unprovoked and violent attack in which the victim sustained serious injury to the back of his head was captured on CCTV, a tool in crime prevention which was praised by a district court judge this week.
Judge Mary Fahy noted that CCTV monitoring of streets is an invaluable tool for gardai, helping them to identify culprits behind such attacks and make an arrest. She made the comments before convicting and sentencing Sonny Barrett to nine months for the assault of a man causing him harm at Eyre Square on August 15, 2009.
The Galway District Court heard on Monday how the 20-year-old defendant with an address at 53 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, had also pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in a public place at Eyre Square on April 15, 2009, and to obstructing a garda and being intoxicated in a public place at Ballybrit on July 30, 2009.
Inspector Ernie White told the court that on August 15 at 3.15am gardai were montoring CCTV when they observed the defendant approach a man and assault him. The injured party fell to the ground and sustained serious injuries to his head. The defendant immediately ran from the scene but was arrested soon after.
On July 30 at 7.30pm Barrett was seen throwing stones at passing cars and buses. Barrett who was in an intoxicated state was pointed out by witnesses and when gardai attempted to arrest him he resisted. The court then heard that the defendant has one previous conviction for handling stolen property.
Defence solicitor Brian Gilmartin said that Barrett had been drinking “quite heavily” at the time but is now taking “anti-booze” medication in order to deal with his alcohol difficulties. He said that Barrett, an unemployed apprentice mechanic, has complied with bail conditions set at an earlier court sitting.
The 26-year-old injured party told Judge Fahy that he received eight stitches to the back of the head. He said that he had been standing outside Supermacs when he fell back and was “knocked unconcious”. He added that he had never seen the defendant before the incident and that he does not remember much of it.
“The whole thing was captured on CCTV, without that you wouldn’t have known who did it. It was the CCTV that helped to capture this man... Hitting the back of the head could have been fatal,” said Judge Fahy who added that it is “totally unacceptable for this type of behaviour. Drink can never be acceptable as an excuse.”
Judge Fahy said that she had no option but to impose a custodial sentence. “He just came up to this man and assaulted him. I will deal with him on a custodial basis as a warning to him and to others,” she said before imposing a total of nine months.
Leave to appeal was granted and if bail were to be granted the condition applied was that Barrett stay away from and have no contact with the injured party.