A man who was seriously assaulted as he walked home from a night out socialising with work colleagues, has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress and has had panic attacks following the attack, Dundalk Circuit Court heard last Thursday.
Shea Dowdall – a 23 year old joiner with an addresss at Ferryhill Road, Newry had previously pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, at Park Street, Dundalk on March third last year.
The victim told gardai he was walking across the street after leaving a pub when he saw someone he thought he knew looking angry. He said he asked him if he was alright – and told him “to cheer up” and the next thing he knew he was on the ground.
A member of security staff at a nearby nightclub witnessed the defendant – who had been removed from the premises talking to another man, before they ended up in a scuffle.
He saw the complainant put his hand out to shake Shea Dowdall’s hand, but the accused punched him to the head and knocked him to the ground.
The defendant was arrested at the scene, when he was interviewed later in the day he said he was “very very drunk” but had no memory of the events.
Garda CCTV showed the scuffle but the punch itself was off-camera.
In a victim impact statement read to the court on his behalf, the injured party outlined how he has been left with a visible scar above his right eye near his temple.
He suffered pain to his ribs for up to two months after the assault and had lost a new job as he was not physically able to attend work following the incident.
He said he suffered from panic attacks - which he never had before, and was diagnosed with PTSD and is awaiting a psychiatric assessment to determine if he requires treatment.
The Defence barrister said his client – had no previous convictions, had entered an early guilty plea and had €3,000 in court for the injured party. The court also heard he had plans to travel to Australia for work.
Judge James McCourt imposed 120 hours community service in lieu of one year in jail – saying he was placing faith in the defendant.
The judge also wished the victim a full recovery from what he called “the unfortunate events of that night”.