Man jailed for 12 years after knife attack


A MAN who left his victim severely brain damaged after a knife attack has been sentenced to 12 years.

Robert Slator (30) stabbed Daniel O’Haire, cutting a three-centimetre gash on the right side of his neck and lacerating his jugular vein, which caused cardiac arrest and deprivation of blood to the brain.

After the stabbing Slator boasted to onlookers, “Ha, youse didn’t think I would do it. I only bought this one [knife] last night, it’s nice, isn’t it,” and wiped the blood off the knife on to the grass.

The court heard that Slator went on the run for eight years following the attack. He was brought back before the court last August under a European arrest warrant.

Judge Desmond Hogan said the attack is “high up the scale of seriousness” and that the account of its effects on the victim makes for “dismal reading”. He imposed a 12-year jail term and suspended the final 12 months, after noting Slator’s tough upbringing.

Mr O’Haire’s mother Liz said in a victim impact report on behalf of her son that she was now “his voice, his carer, his nurse, his reader, his arms and his legs”.

“Daniel is so severely brain damaged that he cannot speak, swallow or walk. He is fully aware of his surroundings but as he cannot speak he blinks to indicate yes or no,” Mrs O’Haire said in her report.

“He cannot swallow and is fed through a tube. Thirty years ago I gave birth to my beautiful son and Robert Slator took his beautiful life in 2003 as Daniel died for 30 minutes.”

“He was a big brother but now he has become a baby. His life is hanging on a thread and we take each day at a time.”

Slator, Barry Avenue, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to recklessly causing serious harm to Mr O’Haire in Finglas on July 18th, 2003.

Det Garda Tony Gleeson told prosecuting counsel Pieter LeVert that the stabbing stemmed from a previous incident between the two men.

Mr O’Haire (30) spotted Slator and said, “Come here I want to talk to you.” Slator walked away and returned a short time later with two knives which witnesses described as “Ninja or martial arts” knives. Mr O’Haire walked towards Slator and they both squared up to each other.

“Slator swiped three times at the victim and missed. The fourth swipe with the knife hit Mr O’Haire in the neck,” said Garda Gleeson.

Mr O’Haire was heard saying, “I can’t breathe. I’m going to die.” An ambulance was called and Mr O’Haire went into cardiac arrest and had to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 20 minutes.

He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Connolly Memorial Hospital where a tracheotomy was carried out due to the lack of blood going to his brain. He suffered significant brain damage as a result.

Isobel Kennedy SC, defending, said Slator has offered his “heartfelt apologies on the tragic event”. “He fled the country as he felt at risk from various people and his family left their home due to the anger which resulted from the incident,” she said.

She said Slator was incarcerated in St Michael’s Institution at the age of 15 because of truancy from secondary school but ran away on several occasions.

“He developed an alcohol problem and drank heavily. He accepts he is responsible for Mr O’Haire’s injuries but he had no realisation at the time of the extend of the damage caused.”