A paramedic was kicked in the chest by a man he was looking after after a car accident on the outskirts of Clonmel and later slapped by him in the face at South Tipperary General Hospital, the Clonmel Circuit Court heard last week.
The attacks were carried out by Stephen McCarthy, 29, with an address in Spring Lane Halting Site, Cork, who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Last year was on trial for assaulting and injuring medic Donal McCormack at South Tipperary General Hospital on March 4 last year.
Judge Eoin Garavan sentenced Mr McCarthy to three months’ imprisonment for assaulting Mr McCormack on Cahir Road in Clonmel on the same day.
The defendant pleaded guilty to both of the attacks.
Sgt. Kieran O’Regan informed the court that Gardaí received a report of a collision with three vehicles near the Cahir Road roundabout in Clonmel at 7:05 a.m. that day. When they got to the scene, they saw a wrecked car on the hard shoulder across from Clonmel.
There was no driver in the driver’s seat, but there was a person in the passenger seat, and Stephen McCarthy was in the back of the car. Paramedic Donal McCormack performed a patient examination on Mr. McCarthy at his level of consciousness in the ambulance.
He noticed that Mr. McCarthy wasn’t responding to his voice, so he used his ballpoint pen and the back of his fingernail to cause a little pain and increase the pressure for up to five seconds.
Stephen McCarthy opened his eyes, took a deep breath, and told the paramedic to “get out of here and stop pinching my finger.” He lifted his leg and kicked Mr. McCormack in the chest.
The blow caused Mr. McCormack to hit the seat behind him. Mr. McCormack stuck his head out of the ambulance and asked for a garda.
A colleague of Mr. McCormack’s took care of Mr. McCarthy and the ambulance took him to South Tipperary General Hospital. Sgt. O’Regan said while Mr. McCarthy addressed Dr. Ali was handed over and details of the accident were given to the doctor, the defendant slapped Mr. McCormack in the face.
Mr. McCormack immediately felt as if something had hit his eyes. His glasses fell off and he noticed that glass had gone into his eyes
. He checked into the emergency room and was assessed by the minor injury department.
Mr. McCormack experienced significant pain in his eyes in the hours following the attack, which resulted in a blinding headache.
He stepped back from the shift he was working on and went home. Other concussion symptoms followed. He was then off duty for about a month.
Sgt. O’Regan said Mr. McCormack did not want to make a statement about the impact of the victim, but instead sent an email to Garda Fearghal Bolger to read to the court.
In the email, Mr McCormack sent this message to the defendant: “I hope the time you are being detained is spent thinking about the life you have damaged and preparing for it, one to become a reformed person. ”
He concluded by praising Garda Bolger for its professionalism and helpfulness throughout the investigation.
Sgt O’Regan added that Stephen McCarthy had 123 previous convictions. They comprised eight attacks on a peace officer.
Sgt. O’Regan replied “yes” when defense attorney Edward O’Mahony told him that Mr. McCarthy’s previous offense coincided with someone who had an addiction problem.
The sergeant also replied “yes” when Mr. O’Mahoney told him his client was involved in a “nasty” accident in which the vehicle he was traveling in lost control and hit a truck, which then met a Ford van.
The sergeant said the car Mr. McCarthy was in smelled strongly of alcohol when Mr. O’Mahony told him his client was extremely drunk.
The attorney said his client could not explain why he made these unprovoked attacks on Mr. McCormack. He didn’t have a good memory of what had happened.
He alleged that Mr McCarthy’s extreme poisoning, shocked by the accident and surprised by Mr McCormack, contributed to his conduct, although the attorney acknowledged that it did not excuse what he was doing.
Mr O’Mahony said the attack that caused a crime committed by Mr McCormack was “unjustified, unnecessary violence” but had no long-term adverse consequences for the victim.
He argued that the offense for such attacks was on the low end of severity. Mr. O’Mahony said his client wrote a letter of apology showing his remorse.
He knew that Mr. McCormack’s actions were distressing.
He pointed out that his client spent a significant part of his life in and out of detention.
He went to Bruree’s treatment for his addiction problem twice, but had not been in the position to deal with his problem. He saw the light now.
He was in a relationship for 10 years and had three children, but the relationship had now broken up. He had not had any contact with his children for almost two years because he was in and out of prison.
Mr. O’Mahony also alleged that his client’s life was marked by tragedy.
His parents died when he was young and his sister recently passed away. Judge Garavan said Mr McCormack’s email read to the court indicated that the victim expected Mr McCarthy to go to jail.
Judge Garavan said he also believed that this type of crime should be characterized by imprisonment.
He described Mr. McCormack as a decent man, which was evident in the generosity he showed in his email. “He certainly didn’t put the boot on. Still, he expected justice to be done.”
The judge pointed out that Mr. McCormack was a hard working person doing a difficult job right now and that he had tried to help Mr. McCarthy.
He took into account the aggravating factors of the assaults and previous convictions of the defendant, but also the mitigating factors of Mr. McCarthy’s apology, his expressions of remorse and his troubled childhood.
He was someone society did not support and the lack of consistency in his life led to his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He believed that the attack that caused damage warranted a four-year prison sentence, which he reduced to three and a half years. He suspended his final year in prison for two years on condition that he bond in order to keep the peace and behave well during that time. Judge Garavan ordered Mr. McCarthy to be placed under the custody of the probation service when he was released from prison, to obey all instructions and to conduct a course on treating addiction in residential areas. He reset the beginning of the sentence to September 15, when Mr McCarthy was first taken into custody.