Headbutt same as a kick on the ground says judge

Naas Circuit Court

Headbutting was the equivalent to kicking someone on the ground in terms of the damage it might do, a circuit court judge said during sentencing of a man pleaded guilty to two counts of assault.

Michael Connolly (34) with an address at 2627 Darragh Park, Newbridge, pleaded guilty to two count of assaults on a man Mr John Mahon and a woman, Ms Gina Riossi, at the Circuit Court in Naas.

Sgt Con O’Sullivan said that on 22 May 2004, he received a complaint from the man Mr John Mahon that he was assaulted at the Keg Public House, Newbridge the previous day.

The man Mr Mahon said that, while in the nightclub, he was assaulted by a third party, and Mr Connolly then intervened. Mr Connolly headbutted him three or four times, before bouncers intervened and ejected everyone.

Mr Mahon was then assaulted again outside the nightclub. He suffered a dislocated bone in his face, a cut to his forehead and finger, and afterwards required an operation because of numbness in his face due to a trapped nerve.

A consultant at Naas general hospital noted a fracture to his cheekbone when he was examined.

On the second count, the court heard that when a woman Ms Gina Rossi tried to stop what was happening, Mr Connolly punched her in the face.

The court heard that Mr Connolly had a difficult upbringing, an alcohol problem, and had devloped a herion addiction. He had two children, aged 12 and 9.

“When he is sober and off the drugs he is a most genial, engaging and pleasant man in every circumstance,” Mr Connolly’s barrister said.

Mr Connolly is currently half-way through a four year sentence for a robbery which he carried out because of his heroin addiction.

“He is focussed and dealing with his anger,” the court was told. “He would like to humbly offer his apologies to all concerned in relation to his activities.

Judge Michael O’Shea said that Mr Connolly had inflicted “very nasty injuries” in the fight, which amounted to “a serious assault”.

“Headbutting a man three or four times is in my view the equivalent of kicking a man or a person on the ground,” he said.

The judge noted that Mr Connolly had a previous conviction for assault, and a history of violence. He sentenced him to concurrent sentences of three years imprisonment for the assault on the man Mr Mahon, and four months for the assault on the woman.