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Tipperary man who avoided jail for assaulting hackney driver drops appeal against €20,000 compensation order

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Tipperary man who avoided jail for assaulting hackney driver drops appeal against €20,000 compensation order

Tipperary man who avoided jail for assaulting hackney driver drops appeal against €20,000 compensation order after being told custody could be “back on the agenda”

A Tipperary man who avoided jail for assaulting a hackney driver has withdrawn an appeal against being made to pay €20,000 to the victim, after being told custody could be “back on the agenda” if he proceeded. 

Sean Healy (28) of Beechpark, Cahir, County Tipperary, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to former hackney driver John Bailey at Cullenagh, Ballyporeen in the early hours of March 12, 2017. 

Clonmel Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mr Bailey had operated the hackney in the Burncourt area for a number of years and enjoyed his work. However, he decided to wind up his hackney business following the assault. 

Healy was given a wholly suspended three-and-a-half year sentence and ordered to pay €20,000 compensation to the injured party by Judge Thomas Teehan on December 14, 2018. 

His barrister, Edward O’Mahoney BL, sought to confine a sentence appeal to the compensation order only on grounds that the amount, with two years to pay, was “completely onerous”. 

However, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham told Mr O’Mahoney that his client should be fully conscious that all options were open to the court in a sentence appeal. 

Mr Justice Birmingham said the court would be obliged to consider all aspects of the sentence, including the suspended sentence. Therefore, the question of custody could be “back on the agenda”. 

After taking instructions from Healy, Mr O’Mahoney said his client wished to withdraw the appeal. 

Mr Justice Birmingham said the sentencing judge viewed the offence as falling in the higher end of the spectrum. It was an unprovoked assault “by a trained boxer” on a relatively elderly man, who had to give up his employment. 

Mr Justice Birmingham said Healy had no previous convictions and the sentencing judge commented that he didn’t want to fill the country’s jails with people who had no previous convictions. 

The court varied the compensation order to the extent that Healy has two years, from today/yesterday's date, to compensate the victim.