County Limerick horse trainer, 64, avoids prison sentence for assaulting daughter
A COUNTY Limerick horse trainer who was convicted of a “vicious assault” against his daughter at their home last year has been ordered to carry out community service.
Sean Fitzgibbon, aged 64, of Clonshire, Croagh, was convicted in August of assaulting his daughter Christina during a row at their home, during which he held a pike up to her throat and repeatedly punched her in the face.
Mr Fitzgibbon denied the charge, claiming that he was trying to defend himself from his daughter, who he said confronted him aggressively and repeatedly tried to kick him in the groin.
The case appeared before Newcastle West Court again last Thursday for sentencing and the production of a victim impact report.
Judge Mary Larkin said that after reading the report, she took “quite a serious view of what I’ve read”, and described the Mr Fitzgibbon’s actions as “a vicious assault”.
During the original hearing in August, when Mr Fitzgibbon pleaded not guilty to assault, the court heard that on the evening of August 8, 2011 a row broke out between Christina Fitzgibbon and her father in a stable at their home, which escalated into a physical confrontation during which Mr Fitzgibbon held a pitch fork up to his daughter’s throat, dragged her over a wheelbarrow and punched her in the face.
The court was also told that after the initial confrontation Ms Fitzgibbon went into the house and collected her bags to leave, but as she was loading up her car another confrontation between her and her father took place, during which he assaulted her and verbally abused her.
Mr Fitzgibbon denied attacking his daughter, claiming that she had been “aggressive” towards him, had kicked him in the shins and groin, and had verbally abused him.
Speaking last Thursday solicitor Richard O’Hanrahan, defending, said that Mr Fitzgibbon is separated from his wife and “isolated from his family”.
Mr O’Hanrahan said that the defendant is “of limited means” and is only in receipt of income of €180 per week, and has “a low risk of re-offending”.
Mr O’Hanrahan said that the effect that this incident has had on the defendant’s family life has been “far more detrimental” than the criminal conviction.
Insp Paul Reidy said that “there doesn’t seem to be any remorse” shown by Mr Fitzgibbon for his actions in a case which was “a tragic matter all round”. Insp Reidy said that the relationship between Mr Fitzgibbon and his daughter “hasn’t improved, and is unlikely to ever improve”.
Judge Larkin said that she was of a mind to send Mr Fitzgibbon to prison, based on his daughter’s evidence and her victim impact report.
However, the judge said that as it was Judge Mary O’Halloran and not she who had heard the original hearing, “I don’t know if I’m the person to pass sentence”.
Judge Larkin first suggested adjourning sentencing until Judge O’Halloran returns, but then asked Mr O’Hanrahan if his client would be willing to carry out community service in lieu of a prison sentence. Mr O’Hanrahan replied that he would.
The judge ordered that Mr Fitzgibbon carry out 120 hours of community service in lieu of a three month prison sentence.
The case was adjourned until December 11 for the completion of a probation report.
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Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North west