Cork judge slams growing levels of drink fuelled and gratuitous late night violence on streets

Going out at night is now "really dangerous" because of the prevalence of strong alcohol shots and young people drinking up to three times more than was customary ten years ago.

Judge Gerard O’Brien at Cork Circuit Criminal Court voiced his concerns about growing levels of gratuitous violence on the street. "People are killed from one blow. One blow can kill someone," he warned.

He made the comments to a young man he had, on Tuesday, remanded in custody for a knockout blow he delivered to another young man in Cork city two years ago.

Adrian Heller, 28, of 68 Friars Walk, Cork, was before Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing today having been remanded in custody for two days. He had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to a young man on April 22, 2017 outside the Woodshed public house on Sheares Street, Cork.

“This type of gratuitous violence on the street – people die as a result of this kind of behaviour.

“It is the bitter experience of this court – the carrying on outside nightclubs after ten pints and eight shots. It is normal now to have three times the amount of drink that was customary ten years ago

“The presence of strong alcoholic shots makes going out at night really dangerous,” Judge O’Brien said.

The judge said he was not saying that the accused in the present case had ten pints and eight shots. The volume of drink he had on the night he assaulted another man was not disclosed.

However, the court heard he was so drunk that gardaí had to pepper-spray him in order to subdue him.

Garda Ellen O’Herlihy outlined the background to the assault where the injured party was standing on the edge of the footpath, received one blow from the defendant and fell backwards to the ground.

He spent four days in hospital as a result of concussion. He said he could not forgive the defendant for the unprovoked assault and then walking away leaving him unconscious in a pool of blood.

Garda O’Herlihy said the accused had 19 previous convictions, most of them for public order offences. He was fined earlier this month for a public order offence.

Judge O’Brien said, “This is clearly a massive escalation… People are killed from one blow. One blow can kill someone.”

Sentencing in his case was put back for one year today with him released on bail.

The judge directed him to comply with the directions of the probation service regarding a suitable alcohol programme and to undertake some voluntary work that would benefit others in society.

Defence barrister Ray Boland said there were pro-social aspects to the defendant’s life such as working fulltime.

Judge O’Brien said Heller clearly had a drink problem that he had not addressed.

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