Pro IQRA News Updates.
A man who turned himself into a Gardaí after watching footage of him assaulting a homeless woman on RTÉ’s Crimecall has avoided a prison sentence at Dublin Criminal Circuit Court.
Derek Kavanagh, 48, has been given a three-year suspended sentence entirely after pleading guilty to assaulting and causing harm to a woman in Dublin’s James Street on May 8.
At the hearing, the court heard Kavanagh, of Walshetown Park, Newbridge, Co Kildare, attended a business event at a hotel in Santry at night.
Garda Ellis McBrain told Peter Le Vert BL, the district attorney, that the accused did not normally drink alcohol but that the drinks were before, during and after the event. Cavanagh later breaks up with some of his colleagues after the group goes to a nightclub but finds it closed.
ask for money
The victim, a woman who was living in a hostel at the time, told Gardaí she saw Cavanagh on his phone and asked if he had euros. She said Kavanagh replied, “Yeah, I’ll give it to you in a minute,” before resuming his phone call.
Kavanagh then began walking along James Street and when the woman asked him if he would still give her a euro, he said, “Yeah, walk with me to the machine and I’ll get it for you,” the court heard.
The woman told Gardaí that out of nowhere, the man pulled her to the ground and began punching her in the face and head with his fist, before placing his hands around her neck.
She said she was screaming for help and grabbed a glass bottle on the floor in an attempt to defend herself, but the accused snatched the bottle from her and started hitting her on the head. The woman said she was bleeding and crying and noticed a friend across the street who accused Kavanagh of assault.
The woman and her friend followed Kavanagh as he slowly walked away “and didn’t seem to care what he did,” they later told Gardaí.
The two friends called passers-by for help and the woman went to Kavanagh and put her hands inside his pocket to grab his phone to call 999, but the phone was off. They then tipped off a cyclist who called 999 and noticed that the woman and Kavanagh had blood on them.
A few weeks later, the lawyer said, RTÉ’s Crimecall program broadcast television footage of the incident appealing for witnesses to come forward. Kavanagh called Gardai the next day and said he recognized himself in the footage.
Gardaí met by appointment and cooperated fully, saying he remembered being approached but felt there had been one or two other people with this person and that he became fearful and thought they were going to try to rob him or him.
He told Gardaí that he panicked, threw a punch and fell on the woman’s head, adding “I’m so sorry, I honestly thought I was in danger. I definitely went overboard.”
The court heard Kavanaugh was horrified when he saw the full CCTV footage and photos of the woman’s injury. He agreed with Jardai that the victim did not act in a threatening manner and kept a reasonable distance.
Garda McBrain agreed with Garrett Casey BL, an advocate, that Cavanagh was very remorseful and was very drunk.
Kavanagh submitted €2,000 to the court in damages to the injured party and Judge Martin Nolan ordered that a further €3,000 be collected within the next six months to be awarded to the woman. He has no prior convictions and works full time, earning €60,000 a year, the court heard.
A letter from Kavanagh expressing his great shame and remorse was delivered to the judge, as well as a victim impact statement from the injured woman. Letters to the court were also delivered from Kavanagh’s employer and his wife.
Judge Nolan said Kavanaugh had committed a grievous assault on an innocent person due to a “combination of excessive alcohol and fear”. He said Kavanagh had very good mitigation measures and good references and was unlikely to re-offend.