'True remorse' shown by Offaly man who smashed pint glass on man's head in Offaly pub row
AN argument over sport resulted in a man smashing a pint glass on the head of another man in a Tullamore public house, the local District Court was told.
A 23-year-old with an address at Ballyduff, Rahan Road, Tullamore, Andrew Fitzgerald, pleaded guilty to assaulting Shane Tierney, causing him harm, on December 29, 2019 at the Phoenix Bar, O'Connor Square.
Detailing the facts to Judge Catherine Staines so she could consider if she would accept jurisdiction, Sergeant James O'Sullivan said the offence related to an argument over a GAA match and he handed in a photograph of the injuries sustained by the victim.
He said Mr Tierney suffered lacerations which required stitching.
Donal Farrelly, solicitor for Mr Fitzgerald, said the injured party had withdrawn his complaint but the court was told by Sergeant O'Sullivan the DPP had decided to proceed with the prosecution because of CCTV evidence.
Judge Staines said she would accept jurisdiction and was told by Sergeant O'Sullivan the accused had no previous convictions.
Mr Farrelly said the background to the incident was that his client, a college graduate, was in the Phoenix Bar where a lot of drink was consumed.
He met Mr Tierney, another young man who was involved in sport like him, and words passed between them about sport.
The solicitor said it may have got out of hand when they were slagging each other about various sporting activities and it appeared the injured party left down a pint glass and unfortunately Mr Fitzgerald threw the glass at him.
It was a moment of madness and the defendant had suffered dreadfully since, Mr Farrelly added.
When Judge Staines was told by the gardai that the CCTV footage indicated Mr Fitzgerald had the glass in his hand when he hit the injured party, she said that was slightly different from what the defending solicitor had told her.
Mr Farrelly said it appeared the glass left his client's hand but he accepted what had happened.
The solicitor said the incident was dealt with very quickly by Mr Fitzgerald who attended the Garda Station the next day and a letter of apology was written to the injured party.
After telling his parents a number of days later they went to visit the injured party together and immediately offered to pay for any losses.
Mr Farrelly said the Tierney family very kindly said there were no losses or medical expenses but Mr Fitzgerald nonetheless left €500 and sports vouchers with the other young man.
They had known each other previously through sport and having liaised with each other Mr Tierney withdrew his complaint because he did not want anything untoward to happen to Mr Fitzgerald.
Mr Farrelly said the accused was accompanied to court by his father, the managing director of the local radio station, Midlands 103, and his mother was a teacher.
They were now very friendly and on extremeley good terms with the injured party's parents and Mr Tierney.
Mr Farrelly said the incident had been a disaster for Mr Fitzgerald, a commerce graduate from NUIG and he suffered enormously himself.
Judge Staines adjourned sentence for victim impact and restorative justice reports.
She said it was such a shame that alcohol had to be such a part of sporting events. She said the two young men were presumably very fit and healthy and it appeared that after a GAA match Mr Fitzgerald drank too much.
She said people should be able to enjoy their sport and the fun and competition without drinking to excess and causing so much harm.
She noted Mr Fitzgerald's clean record, his guilty plea, and his true remorse. Adjourning the matter to May 26, she also indicated that she would be expecting more compensation, at least another €500.