Tallaght father-to-be jailed for one year after ‘moment of madness’

By Sarah-Jane Murphy

A father-to-be who struck a man on the head with a golf club 'in a moment of madness' and fractured his skull has been jailed for a year, reports Sarah- Jane Murphy.

Dean Sutcliffe (21), of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin, who was 17 at the time of the offence, was found guilty by a jury of assault causing serious harm to Keith Fennelly, at Cushlawn Park on November 3, 2013.

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Detective Garda David Jennings told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that prior to the assault, the victim and his brother became involved in an argument with the accused, who was sitting on a wall outside his home.

He told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that words were exchanged before Sutcliffe hit Mr Fennelly from behind with a golf club “with such force that the head of the club came off.”

Mr Farrelly suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding, and spent a number of days in intensive care.

The court heard that Sutcliffe had no previous convictions at the time of the assault and was not known to gardai.

“I believe he saw the red mist on the day, it was a moment of madness,” Det Gda Jennings told the court.

Ciaran O'Loughlin SC, defending, said that Sutcliffe had no previous offences at the time of the assault and the incident was “wholly out of character.”

Sentencing Sutcliffe on Friday, Judge Elma Sheahan said she agreed with Det Gda Jennings that the assault was a “moment of madness with very serious consequences for the victim”.

She noted that Mr Farrelly has since made a full recovery.

Judge Sheahan made reference to several mitigating factors - the accused's youth, the absence of previous convictions, his impending fatherhood and the fact he was a valued member of his family, acting as a carer for his father.

Handing down a three-year sentence with the final two years suspended, she said she believed he was “on the path to rehabilitation” but warned him that it was now over to him to ensure he did not end up before the courts again.

Judge Sheahan directed that upon his release, Sutcliffe engage with the Probation Services for a period of two years and undergo anger management treatment.

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