Attacked housemate in Ardee with axe over 'handshake slight'

Dundalk District Court

Attacked housemate in Ardee with axe over 'handshake slight'

A Polish man who attacked his housemate with a wooden axe used for medieval re-enactments over a perceived slight over a handshake, was given a two year suspended sentence at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.

Jacek Szostakowski (29) with an address at Ferdia Park, Ardee pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and the production of an article capable of inflicting serious injury at his then home at Rogan’s Lane, Ardee on November 11th 2016.

The court heard on Wednesday last how the victim had returned home from going for a walk after work and had greeted two fellow Polish nationals with a handshake but the defendant – who had previous issues with him, was offended that he didn’t shake hands with him. He complained but the injured party ignored him and put headphones on to listen to music.

The Poland team was playing in a football international on TV and about half an hour later, the victim suddenly got a blow to the back of his head and a second one landed as he tried to get up out of his seat and he saw a wooden axe used for medieval re-enactments coming towards him as he raised his arm to protect himself from a third blow.

The victim – who suffered cuts and bruising to the head, managed to grab the axe and another acquaintance grabbed a shield he was also holding and the accused was restrained until his father - who lived nearby, got there.

His father then reported him to Gardai and he was detained at is father’s home under the Mental Health Act, however the court heard following an assessment it was established the assault was not linked to mental illness but rather the defendant’s drinking.

The Defence barrister said his client – who had no previous convictions and works in a local factory, had a history of depression from his early teens and his drinking had been taken in hand as he began alcohol counselling following the assault and continues to engage with group therapy.

Judge Michael O’Shea said it was a vicious and violent assault but noted the steps the accused had taken in respect of his drinking.

He imposed concurrent two year sentences but suspended on the accused entering a bond to be of good behaviour for two years, and he also directed that he pay the victim €1,500 within 14 months.