Headbutt ruins birthday celebrations

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By Brion Hoban

A man who “tarnished” a woman’s 70th birthday celebrations by headbutting her son in a pub has received a fully suspended sentence.

Kevin Lacey (31) of Rollins Villas, Sallynoggin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at Magpie Inn, Coliemore Road, Dalkey, on September 15, 2019. He has one previous conviction for affray committed in 2009.

Garda Ciaran Russell told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that Trevor Howard was attending the pub with his friends and family in celebration of his mother’s 70th birthday.

Gda Russell said that over the course of the evening, Mr Howard and the accused man encountered each other. He said that they were unknown to each other prior to the night.

Shortly after midnight, some kind of altercation ensued and Lacey headbutted Mr Howard to the middle of his nose, knocking him to the ground. Mr Howard was taken to hospital with blood on his face and swollen eyes.

The court heard that the victim and his family feel the birthday celebrations were “tarnished” by the assault.

Gda Russell said Mr Howard would be willing to accept compensation.

Justin McQuade BL, defending, put it to the prosecuting garda that while it may appear on the CCTV footage of the incident that his client struck Mr Howard with a headbutt, his client is certain that he struck the victim with his hand.

Gda Russell said that the victim’s view is that he was struck with a headbutt. The garda said that was his view as well having viewed the CCTV footage.

The garda agreed with counsel that his client is not on the radar of gardaí whatsoever.

Judge Martin Nolan said this was an “unfortunate incident”. He said the victim sustained some injuries, but appears to have made a “reasonably good recovery”.

Judge Nolan said that the accused man has a record of conviction which could be considered to be relevant, but that it was an old record. He said that taking everything into consideration, it seemed to him that the accused did not deserve a custodial sentence.

He sentenced Lacey to 15 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions, including that he raise a sum of €3,000 to give to the victim within one year.

Judge Nolan said this was a way of both “punishing” him and at the same time compensating the victim.

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