Mother and child get jail time after actor left scarred

A Mullingar woman and her three-week-old baby are to begin a nine month jail term after an appeal against her sentence for assault was rejected.

Aileen Greene of Walshestown wept as she apologised to Mullingar Circuit Court for the incident which saw budding actor Justin O’Byrne receive a 6cm scar on his cheek.

“Nobody can do that to anybody and get away with it,” said Judge Anthony Kennedy after he heard evidence of how the hairdresser, who is in her 20s, lost her temper at a night club when comments were made about a friend who had recently taken his own life.

His ex-girlfriend had been “sneering and laughing”, she said, adding “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I don’t know why I done it.”

“I’m very sorry,” she wept, adding that she was aware of the pain she had caused and that the incident will always be at the back of her mind.

At 12.20am on August 17, 2008 Justin O’Byrne was socialising in the smoking area of Mojo’s niteclub with friends when he became aware of Greene shouting and screaming.

Garda Eric Naughton described how Mr O’Byrne saw her pick up glasses and throw them at two other women and how he was struck by a piece of glass which ricocheted off a wall, receiving “a severe laceration”.

He has had considerable medical attention and will need plastic surgery. A student, he is a member of well known Mullingar drama group Rail Theatre Company and he performed at last year’s Electric Picnic.

The court heard Greene didn’t know anyone had been injured until gardaí contacted her later and she admitted the offence immediately.

A civil case is underway, but Greene’s separate offer of €5,000 in the criminal court was rejected by Mr O’Byrne.

Greene’s father Seamus said his daughter had never given any trouble and had been very upset at the tragic death of her friend. She has also been upset since the assault.

Judge Kennedy said comments referred to in Mr O’Byrne’s mother’s victim impact statement were “completely unacceptable”.

Mrs O’Byrne said Greene had been overheard on the steps of the court in Mullingar saying “Oh it’s not even such a bad scar. I don’t know what he’s complaining about”.

She also said Greene had intimidated her son by staring at him at traffic lights two weeks later; however Greene denied that she had ever seen the victim outside court.

Her barrister Mr Padraig Hogan said gardaí had investigated the incident but nothing came of it.

Judge Kennedy refused Greene’s appeal and sentenced her to nine months in jail but adjourned the sentence to begin not before Tuesday, after her little sister’s communion.

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