A KILDIMO man who headbutted his brother-in-law in a row over a shed has avoided a criminal conviction after paying him over €10,000 in compensation and providing a hand-written apology.
John O’Curry, aged 43, of Mellon, Kildimo, previously pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to his brother-in-law and neighbour, Brian Nestor, during a row at Ballinacarriga, Kildimo on February 26, 2012.
The court previously heard that an argument between the two escalated and O’Curry “punched and headbutted” the victim, causing him a number of injuries to his face.
The case was finalised at Newcastle West court last Thursday, where O’Curry entered the witness box and gave a sworn undertaking to stay away from the victim and his family, and not subject them to “distress or fear”.
Speaking last Thursday solicitor Andrew D’Arcy, defending, said that since the case last appeared in court in January O’Curry had paid Mr Nestor €10,460 in compensation, a “not inconsiderable amount of money” which he “had to beg, borrow and steal” to raise, with help from his relatives.
O’Curry has also provided a hand-written letter of apology.
The court previously heard that O’Curry was seeking to avoid receiving a criminal conviction as he and his wife are seeking to adopt a child.
Mr D’Arcy told the court last Thursday that O’Curry is “very contrite” about what had taken place, and spoke of the “awful amount of trauma” the incident has caused for both families.
Mr D’Arcy said that O’Curry “should receive maximum credit” for his plea and co-operation, as well as his payment of compensation. A criminal conviction, Mr D’Arcy said, would not only “tarnish this man’s unblemished record”, but would also jeopardise his plans to adopt.
Judge Mary Larkin said that she was “very cognisant” of the sensitivities of the case and the seriousness of the charge.
She said that she she would be willing to not hand O’Curry a criminal conviction if he gave a sworn undertaking to the court to stay away from his brother-in-law’s family.
O’Curry took to the witness stand and promised that he “won’t cross paths in any shape or form” with Mr Nestor from now on.
“I apologise for what happened on the day. I undertake that I won’t put him or his family in distress or fear”, he added.
The judge applied the Probation Act, but warned O’Curry about his future behaviour.