College student avoids jail for one-punch attack that left victim ‘lucky to be alive’

Judge warns of dangers of such assaults as Ciaran Allen (21) gets suspended sentence

A 21-year-old college student has been given a three-year suspended sentence for a one-punch assault. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A 21-year-old college student has been given a three-year suspended sentence for a one-punch assault. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

A 21-year-old college student has been given a three-year suspended sentence for a one-punch assault that led to a fellow student sustaining a skull fracture and an acute subdural haematoma.

Ciaran Allen appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court after having spent two weeks in custody.

The presiding judge previously denied Allen bail ahead of sentencing in order to give him a taste of what prison would be like if he ever engaged in such violent and reckless behaviour again.

The judge, Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin, on Friday warned Allen, of Innishannon Road, Fairhill, Cork city, about the dangers of one-punch assaults, which he said can cause life-changing injuries.

The court heard that Allen punched Dylan O’Shaughnessy outside Deep South pub on Grand Parade, Cork, on September 13th, 2019.

Brian Leahy, defence barrister, said that following the incident a deeply remorseful Allen immediately started putting away money from his part-time work for compensation. He also borrowed funds as part of his effort to raise €5,000 compensation for the injured party.

Mr Leahy said he had never known a client to make such strenuous efforts to raise compensation in the aftermath of an assault.

Garda Patricia O’Riordan told the court Mr O’Shaughnessy had gone over to talk to a girl in his class in college, when Allen and another young man arrived and pushed him away.

Following a brief verbal encounter the defendant punched the injured party in the face as he was walking away from him.

Mr O’Shaughnessy landed on his head. He bled from his left ear and was unconscious for a period.

‘Extremely scared’

The injured party said the next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital on a drip and covered in blood.

“I couldn’t open my right eye. I was extremely scared as I didn’t know what had happened and no one was with me at the time I woke up. The doctors informed my parents that I should have been killed from four separate injuries and that I was extremely lucky to be alive. I had to stay in hospital for five days. I had a fracture to my right eye socket. The hospital scans confirmed I had acute subdural haematoma and a skull fracture,” he said.

Mr Justice Ó Donnabháin said the damage done to the injured party was significant. He acknowledged the efforts made by the defendant to raise compensation.

He added that he couldn’t overemphasise the danger of one-punch assaults.

“The consequences of these assaults can be dramatic and life-changing.”

Acknowledging Allen’s guilty plea, the compensation raised and the genuine remorse of the defendant, the judge jailed Allen for three years, suspending the entirety of the sentence. Allen vowed to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.