A South Armagh man who attacked two male teachers who were out socialising in Dundalk was identified after one of the victims took photos of him and shared them on social media, Dundalk Circuit Court heard last Friay.
Ryan McGroder (23) of New Road, Silverbridge admitted two counts of assault causing harm, at Park Street, Dundalk on April 17th 2017.
Both victims were out socialising with the girlfriend of one of the injured parties and were walking down on Park Street, after failing to get a taxi, when what was described in court as a sexualised comment was made about the woman.
Her boyfriend told the defendant to keep his mouth shut, but Ryan McGroder approached and struck him a punch to the face – causing him to fall to the ground, followed by a scuffle.
After the victim got up off the ground he rang the gardai and took two photos of the defendant which he shared on What’s App and a friend got in touch to identify Ryan McGroder.
The second victim – who had travelled from Dublin to join the couple on the night out, told gardai he remembered someone shouting inappropriate remarks and then Ryan McGroder looking up at him after hitting the first man.
His next memory was of being up against a wall being helped by three or four people. He’d suffered cuts to his head, forehead and bruising and has not returned to Dundalk since the assault as he doesn’t feel safe there.
The first victim – who suffered a chipped tooth and fracture at his right elbow, which he was advised was a degenerative injury, said in a victim impact statement said he suffers from flashbacks. He doesn’t feel safe in his home town.
The court heard Mr. McGroder had no previous convictions north or south of the border and works as a volunteer helping a local homeless charity and with the Louth Traveller Movement.
The Defence barrister said he had instructions that his client was not the individual who had made remarks, which he claimed were along the line of the woman being gorgeous.
He said they had come from someone else and the defendant also claimed he’d been acting in self-defence.
The barrister told the court client is a student at DkIT and stressed that a conviction would have an impact on his plans to become a teacher.
He added that €5,000 could be made available for the injured parties if given time.
Judge John O Connor adjourned sentencing to June 30th and indicated he was recommending a 12 month suspended sentence for each assault to allow for payment of the money and to see that the defendant is of good behaviour, as submitted to the court.