Probation Act applied in ‘one punch’ case in Limerick

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick Courthouse
A STUDENT who broke the jaw of another student when he punched him in a case of “mistaken identity” avoided a criminal conviction after the Probation Act was applied.

A STUDENT who broke the jaw of another student when he punched him in a case of “mistaken identity” avoided a criminal conviction after the Probation Act was applied.

Previously, Kenneth Quirke, aged 24, of Curragh, Camp, Tralee, Co Kerry admitted assaulting David Mullins during a student event at the Stables Club at UL on November 24, 2009.

A year ago the defendant received a suspended prison sentence after Judge Carroll Moran was told he had paid the injured party €10,000 in compensation.

However, during a review of the case this week, the judge said he did not want to “blight the career” of Quirke, who is in his final year at the University of Limerick.

Mark Nicholas BL, said his client, who has no previous convictions, has not been in any trouble since the incident and he told the court that separate civil proceedings have been initiated by Mr Mullins against his client.

He described offence as a “one punch” case.

Quirke made admissions in relation to offence the on the night and before CCTV footage had been acquired by gardai.

Previously Limerick Court was told the incident happened at the courtyard at the premises shortly during the “Christmas Daze” festivities.

Judge Moran was told CCTV footage of the incident showed the defendant approaching Mr Mullins and punching him in the face.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the injured man - who is from County Galway - sustained a fractured jaw and had three plates inserted after the attack.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Mullins said he no longer felt safe when walking within the UL campus and he added that his health and fitness have suffered since the incident as he has stopped playing hurling.

Mr Nicholas said the incident was “regrettable and wrong” and dreadful and should never have happened.

After hearing that Quirke has stayed out of trouble for the past year, Judge Moran said he was applying the provisions of the Probation Act.

This, he said was because of the good character of the defendant combined with the fact that he had paid compensation.

“I’m taking a chance that you won’t get into trouble again,” he told Mr Quirke.