A NOW 22 year old man who punched another person in the face causing him to lose four teeth was given a two year suspended sentence at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.
The defendant who was aged just 17 at the time had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm arising out of the incident at River Lane, Dundalk on the 18th of July 2008.
The court heard that the injured party had left a local nightclub and was on his way to a nearby takeaway when he met a friend and intervened to stop an altercation between his friend and another individual.
The victim told gardai that as he went to walk into the takeaway he heard someone speak. He got a push to the back and as he turned around he got a single blow to the face and when he put his hand to his mouth it was “soaked with blood”.
The court heard a tooth was missing and a number of others were “hanging on”. The defendant later presented himself voluntarily at Dundalk Garda Station where he was interviewed in the presence of his mother.
The court was told that there was no option but to remove the three loose teeth and the dental work the injured party had undergone had cost €9,800 so far.
It also heard that replacement teeth would be needed every 10 years on average. The accused - who admitted throwing a punch, told gardai he thought it landed on the injured party’s left ear.
The court heard some of his company had pulled him away and had got a lift from the scene. The investigating garda told the court the injured party is recovering well - although his teeth “are sore from time to time”.
The court heard the victim is in Lebanon with the army at the moment and as a result of his injuries had lost out on an opportunity to go to Chad as part of his duties. It was also told that he had paid 20 visits to his dental clinic and the incident had “affected his willingness to socialise”.
The Defence barrister said he client had instructed her to apologise to the injured party. She added that while “very severe” the injuries were the result of a single blow and her client had left the scene preventing the incident ‘from escalating further’.
She added the accused had a number of previous convictions for road traffic offences but he had none of violent nature.
The barrister said her client had handed over €7,000 for the injured party and explained that he put the money together after selling his car, through employment and the balance was from a loan from his parents.
She asked for additional time to raise more money and said the investigating garda had accepted “this is a once-off incident”.
The court heard that after leaving school the accused had got a job as an apprentice mechanic and is now waiting to hear back from a garage.
He has also applied to join the Irish army and the fire service and helps his father who works as a haulier. The court was also told the defendant had been involved in a number of local sports clubs.
Judge Michael O’Shea said while he accepted the accused had completely over reacted and his behaviour was extreme and outrageous and the attack ‘unprovoked’.
He imposed a two year sentence but suspended it on the defendant entering a bond to be of good behavior for two years. He also directed that the defendant pay the balance of the dental costs (€2,800) within six months.