Limerick Circuit Court
A MAN who punched a bouncer in the face – fracturing his cheekbone and cutting his lip – is to begin a two year prison sentence this Thursday.
The victim – James Hayes – was out of work for five weeks following the unprovoked attack which happened shortly before midnight on March 21, 2015.
Keith Johnson, aged 39, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect has pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Hayes, causing him harm, near the entrance to Angel Lane, Robert Street where he was working on the night.
Garda Clare Burke told Limerick Circuit Court the incident happened shortly after defendant was refused entry to the nightclub as he was “simply too drunk”.
When Mr Hayes – the security manager – intervened Johnson punched him into the side of the face “suddenly and without warning”.
Garda Burke said that while the defendant threw a single punch, it was “delivered with some force”.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Hayes said he still experiences some numbness and has not got full feeling back on the left side of his face.
He also underwent surgery following the assault.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told that following his arrest the defendant told gardai he had been drinking all day and could not remember what had happened.
Laurence Goucher BL said his client accepts that his behaviour on the night was “totally out of order”.
He said the defendant, who has a young daughter, sufferers from mental health difficulties and that he had mixed a considerable amount of alcohol with prescribed medication prior to the incident happening.
Imposing sentence, Judge O’Donnell noted that Mr Johnson was “extremely apologetic in the cold light of day” and that he has not come to garda attention since.
He said the violence and aggression used were aggravating factors in the case.
He noted the personal circumstances of the defendant and in particular the fact that he suffers from mental health difficulties.
While Mr Johnson has a number of previous convictions his most recent offences dates back more than a decade.
Judge O’Donnell said a custodial sentence had to be imposed in the circumstances and he sentenced the defendant to three years’ imprisonment, suspending the final twelve months.
Following an application from Eimear Carey BL, he agreed to defer the commencement of the sentence to this Thursday for family reasons.
Mr Johnson was ordered to present himself to gardai by 12 midday.