A MAN who was punched in the face after he insulted a member of the Travelling community sustained a fractured jaw and temporarily lost sight in his right eye, a court has heard.
The victim was struck by the woman’s husband during a late-night scuffle at a Chinese restaurant in Rathkeale.
Ryan Daly, 26, of Templegreen, Newcastle West pleaded guilty, at Limerick Circuit Court, to a charge of assault relating to the incident which occurred in the early hours of August 27, 2017.
Garda Ken Driscoll said the victim had been out socialising and went for some food shortly after 1am.
He told Lily Buckley BL, instructed by state solicitor Aidan Judge, that a scuffle broke out inside the takeaway during which he was punched in the face.
CCTV footage, which was played in court, shows the incident lasted for less than 30 seconds and that the assault was sparked by an interaction between the victim and Mr Daly’s wife.
There were around a dozen other people in the premises at the time.
Garda Driscoll said it was subsequently established that the victim has made derogatory and insulting comments which had caused matters to escalate.
“It all kicked off, he (Mr Daly) struck him with a closed fist,” said Ms Buckley.
When questioned, the defendant told gardai he and his wife had been celebrating their anniversary and that he had consumed some alcohol earlier in the night.
He said he believed his wife was going to be hit and that he reacted instinctively. “It was a spur of the moment thing,” he said.
In a victim impact statement the victim said he was “blind sided” and struck without any warning.
He said he had to undergo surgery afterwards and that a previous difficulty he had with pronunciation was aggravated.
He added that he is still afraid to go out at night as he fears he might encounter Mr Daly again.
Barrister Eimear Carey submitted there was an element of provocation and she asked the court to note that what was said to her client’s wife is regarded as “particularly obscene” within the Traveller community.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she said adding that Mr Daly has no history of violence and is in full time employment.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said the defendant had “struck a nasty blow” but he accepted there was a background and context.
He imposed an 18 month prison sentence which he suspended in full.