Andrew Dolan’s father calls to an end to night-time violence

The father of a young man killed in a drink-fuelled incident in Mullingar has called for an end to night-time violence on our streets. Andrew Dolan’s father Joe was speaking this week after Mullingar Circuit Court imposed community service orders on a man and woman who assaulted Andrew before a third man struck a fatal blow on Pearse Street on December 23, 2011. “Andrew’s death was yet another incident of senseless, mindless violence which occurs with alarming frequency every weekend in Ireland,” he said. “How many more innocent young people like our son Andrew must die or suffer life-changing injuries and how many families must be ruined before someone calls stop? “In God’s name will someone put a halt to the senseless carnage?” Mr Dolan was speaking after Judge Anthony Hunt finalised the sentencing of Jessica Hughes (21 ) of Greenfield Heights, Rathwire, Killucan for simple assault and Patrick Daly (24 ) of Mulpheddar, Clonard, Co Meath for assault causing harm. Hughes slapped Andrew Dolan and Daly then struck the biomedical science student in the face moments before a third man punched him, causing him to bang his head on the ground and sustain the injury that led to his death a week later. Earlier this year a jury found both not guilty of manslaughter, on the basis that they hadn’t been involved in a joint enterprise to assault Mr Dolan. The third man Patrick Farrell (22 ), Cornamuckla, Broadford, Kildare was convicted of manslaughter and is serving a prison sentence. Judge Hunt said he couldn’t go behind the jury’s verdict and had to treat the two assault charges independently of the horrible incident that followed. Suspended sentences designed to control criminal behaviour are meaningless when both had no previous convictions. He ordered Hughes to complete 160 hours in lieu of a five month prison sentence, and Daly to complete 240 hours in lieu of a two year sentence. However, he said that even if the law absolved them of legal responsibility, both had acknowledged in their probation reports that they were responsible in a general way for the events that led to Mr Dolan’s death. It’s an area of law that may need to be looked at, he said. CCTV evidence showed Mr Dolan on the phone minding his business and Judge Hunt said Hughes perhaps unwittingly set the scene for what followed when she “singled him out” for some inexplicable reason and slapped him. He said Daly is not an insensitive person who would be unaffected by being involved in something like this. He had no idea what went on in Daly’s mind to cause him to strike Mr Dolan but after Farrell knocked him down, Daly had acted properly by not leaving the scene and by flagging down a patrol car. Both will have to live with the consequences of their actions, he said. He commented on the vast quantity of alcohol both had consumed, and said the assaults on their own were similar to the “regular parade of such incidents that come before the court”. He finally complimented the exemplary professionalism and commitment of the gardai in Mullingar, particularly Detective Garda Peter Kelly and the astute garda who was operating the CCTV at the Garda station.

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