A YOUNG man who repeatedly kicked and punched a schoolboy at a petrol station on the outskirts of the city has been successful in his appeal against the severity of the sentence imposed on him.
In November 2011, Adam Fitzgibbon, aged 20, who has an address at Lissanalta, Dooradoyle pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious harm to the then 16-year-old boy at the Apple Green petrol station in Corbally on the evening of July 23, 2010.
He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with the final three suspended.
During a sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Paul Carney was told the unprovoked assault lasted for more than four minutes, at which point the victim stopped moving.
The court was told that Fitzgibbon, who was aged 16 at the time, inflicted 65 kicks and stamps to the victim’s head along with two stamps to his chest. He also punched him 26 times.
Evidence was also heard that eleven people witnessed the frenzied attack and that it wasn’t until Fitzgibbon stopped momentarily before attempting to kick the youth again that someone intervened and stopped him.
There was evidence that he told gardaí he was “stoned out of his head on vodka and tablets” on the night.
The victim suffers deafness as well as memory and speech problems as a result of the injuries he sustained.
In a victim impact statement, the victim’s mother said she will never forget when she arrived on the scene to see her son lying on the ground.
“He had been battered so badly and his head was swollen and black, ” she said adding that she only recognised her son by the clothes he was wearing on the night.
On CCTV footage, Fitzgibbon, who was in the care of the HSE at the time, can be seen repeatedly punching, kicking and stamping on the boy’s head as he lay motionless on the ground.
Yesterday, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that the sentencing judge failed to consider whether the nature of Fitzgibbon’s problems with drink and drugs stemming from his “particularly severe dysfunctional background” brought the matter outside the type of case where there is a simple reliance on drink or drugs as an excuse.
During the appeal, Patrick Gageby SC said Mr Justice Carney “almost entirely” dismissed the “grossly apparent” dysfunctional background of the accused and he submitted it was a “cardinal error” for a judge to conclude that a dysfunctional background was of little if any regard in a case such as this.
While upholding Fitzgibbon’s appeal, Mr Justice Frank Clarke said the court will hear submissions in relation to what sentence should be imposed before finalising the matter.