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24 May 2022

Tipperary man gets suspended jail for assault on friend that left him with broken bone

A Nenagh man who assaulted his friend, breaking a bone under his eye, has been given a suspended sentence by Nenagh Circuit Court.

Cliff Moloney, 31, of Tyone, Nenagh, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Shane Looby at a licensed premises in the town on February 10, 2020.

The court heard that the two men, who are friends, had been out drinking with a group of others in Nenagh that day.

They went out to the smoking area where an altercation occurred and Mr Moloney punched Mr Looby into the face several times.

Mr Looby was treated at University Hospital Limerick the next day. He had sustained a broken bone under his right eye.

He went to Nenagh Garda station and made a statement of complaint against Mr Moloney.

Kenny Kerins, BL, for Mr Moloney, told the court that the two men were friends and he described the incident as “an aberration of that friendship”.

Mr Kerins said that a lot of alcohol had been consumed on the day and Mr Moloney, who had made admissions about the assault to the gardaí, had been abusing prescribed medication as well.

The barrister said the incident arose over a “perceived sleight”, but that the two parties had since settled their differences.

Mr Looby had made two withdrawal statements. The defendant and the injured party were sitting beside each other in court, the court heard.

Mr Looby, in his evidence to the court, said that he and Mr Moloney had since made up and shaken hands.

“I have no animosity towards Cliff at all,” he said. “He's a good bloke. He's a nice guy.”

Judge Cormac Quinn commented that the injured party was “a very forgiving man”, and Mr Looby replied that excess alcohol consumption had led to the incident.

Cross-examined by Mr Kerins, Sgt David Lee told the court that Mr Moloney came from a well-known local family who ran a shop.

The defendant had had problems with alcohol and prescribed medication in the past but he had not come to Garda attention for any reason since the incident.

He had 18 previous convictions, one of which was for assault causing harm. This was received at Dublin Circuit Court in 2021 and related to an offence in 2017.

Mr Kerins handed in several references to the court, among them letters from the defendant’s employer, former school teacher and soccer coach.

He told the court that Mr Moloney was 10 weeks sober, having attended a residential addiction treatment programme. He was attending regular AA meetings as part of his aftercare programme. There was a positive probation report before the court.

Mr Moloney, who is working in steel manufacturing, had compensated the injured party. He was living with his sister, a social worker, and he was in a long-term relationship with his partner with plans to buy a house, said Mr Kerins.

“He has confronted this issue head-on,” he said. “He has addressed the underlying issues.”

Judge Quinn took all of these factors into account, along with the defendant's age and early plea, and said he was satisfied that rehabilitation was continuing.

He sentenced Mr Moloney to two years in prison, suspended for two years on a bond of €200 with conditions that he keep the peace and remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for two years.

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