‘IT’S time to let him get on with his promising life,’ Judge James McNulty said when he imposed a conditional discharge on a man from Skibbereen who was charged with assault.
Sgt Paul Kelly for the prosecution outlined the facts of the case to Judge James McNulty at Skibbereen District Court.
He said the accused, Ruaidhri Gallagher of Scobaun, Castletownshend, was pleading guilty to a charge of assaulting a man at Mizzoni’s Fast Food Restaurant on March 18th 2019.
Solicitor Flor Murphy said his client was admitting that he threw – from the side-lines – a punch at Daniel Duggan during a melee in a packed fast food outlet at 1.45am.
However, both Mr Murphy and the sergeant confirmed that the victim did not make a statement of complaint or initiate the charge of assault – that came after gardaí examined CCTV footage of the disturbance that followed some St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
The accused had no recollection of the incident, but when he was shown the CCTV, he readily admitted that his behaviour was disgraceful.
As well as making an early plea, the accused wrote to the injured man apologising for his behaviour and offered to pay him compensation.
But the man declined the offer and told him: ‘I have nothing against you and I hope everything works out for you.’
Appealing for leniency, Flor Murphy said his client is a 23-year-old UCC student, with no previous convictions, who coaches soccer and works as a volunteer with the Simon community in Cork.
Mr Murphy said Ruaidhri Gallagher was ashamed of his actions and clearly very contrite.
After consultations with his client, Mr Murphy told the court: ‘He admitted that this was the deepest regret of his life.’
In view of the way the accused met the case, Judge McNulty said: ‘He deserves a lucky break. He made a grave error of judgement.’
Judge McNulty added that Mr Gallagher’s life shouldn’t be blighted by ‘one silly error’, especially when the man he assaulted had even wished him well.
The imposition of a conditional discharge means that the accused will be on a probation bond requiring him to be of good behaviour for one year, and will leave him without a criminal record.