Leaving Cert celebrations ended with a knife stabbing

By Brion Hoban

A man who stabbed another man in the stomach while out celebrating the completion of his Leaving Cert has received a fully suspended sentence.

Zak Dunne (22) of Neilstown Gardens, Clondalkin, had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm at McDonald’s, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, on 18 July, 2015.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2 09032017

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Following a trial, he was found guilty of the sole count by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on April 10, last.

Judge Karen O’Connor sentenced Dunne to a two-and-a-half-year imprisonment, but suspended the entire sentence on strict conditions, including that he attend an anger-management course.

The court heard that on the date in question, Dunne perceived that the victim’s brother was looking at him in an aggressive way while in McDonald’s.

Dunne, who was aged 18 on the date in question, was out celebrating the completion of his Leaving Cert.

A row ensued during which the victim tried to assist his brother. The victim was stabbed in his left lower abdomen, which he only realised when he lifted his tee-shirt and saw an opening in his stomach that was not bleeding.

The victim then saw Dunne standing outside the restaurant, tapping a knife off the window. He was brought to hospital where he received 13 staples, was immobile for a week and missed two weeks of work.

Judge O’Connor said that “stabbing somebody who is out on a social occasion is very serious.” She said Dunne was not someone who was used to consuming much alcohol and that he had displayed considerable immaturity in carrying out a “vicious and violent attack”.

She noted that Dunne had been subject to a serious attack himself. She said it was clear from the probation report that he was remorseful and had been deemed to be at a low risk of re-offending.

Judge O’Connor said the aggravating factors in the case were the aggression observable on CCTV and that the security staff struggled to get Dunne out of the restaurant, that the attack was unprovoked, his carrying of and use of a knife, and the impact on the victim.

She said the mitigating factors included Dunne’s youth, his previous good character, his strong work ethic, his desire for rehabilitation and the strong support of his family.

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