Court hears how West Cork man carried out 'serious assault' on his own father

A West Cork man who carried out a serious assault on his father in his bedroom was given a four-year suspended jail term.

Neil O’Donovan, 27, of Lyre, Clonakilty, County Cork, was sentenced by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin.

Neil O’Donovan pleaded guilty previously to a charge of assault causing serious harm to his father Willie O’Donovan at Teadies Upper, Enniskeane, County Cork.

The judge said the accused was only just short of living the life of a recluse but that he had stayed away from his father since the attack and had not come to adverse garda attention.

“It was an extremely serious assault. There was significant difficulty getting him to contact his GP or anybody else.

"The only positive thing to be said is that there has been no reoffending. In the meantime there is a very particular dysfunction in the father/son relationship between them,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said.

The accused was directed to stay away from his father as a condition of the suspension of the sentence.

Garda Tadgh O’Sullivan said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on an earlier date that after the defendant used his fists to attack his father and then used a hatchet to smash up a bedside locker and other property in the bedroom. He pleaded guilty to a criminal damage charge arising out of that.

Ben Shorten defence barrister said, “I have impressed on him the need to engage with his GP and consultant psychiatrist.”

Prosecution barrister, Siobhán Lankford, said, “There is no doubt he is in need of psychiatric assistance whether that is in prison or in the community.”

Mr Shorten BL said the accused was now living with another relative and not at the family home. “His mother is in court to support him,” Mr Shorten said.

Garda O’Sullivan said the accused went to his parents’ bedroom and assaulted his father on the night. The injured party was hospitalised for two nights. He got three stitches to a head wound. He sustained a brain injury which caused short term memory loss and permanently damaged his sense of smell, Garda O’Sullivan said.

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