An Australian will be sentenced in February after he was found guilty of inflicting severe injuries on Irishman Timothy McCarthy in a vicious attack over a year ago.
The Aussie court has convicted 21-year-old Daniel Byrne of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm on Timothy McCarthy.
The Irish Echo newspaper in Australia reports that the attack left the 41-year-old Kerryman fighting for his life in the hospital.
The July 2011 attack left McCarthy with bruising, swelling and blood clots on his brain and two skull fractures.
A neurosurgeon at Canberra Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma in the intensive care unit, told the court there was no doubt McCarthy would have died without medical attention.
Chief Justice Helen Murrell dismissed Byrne’s argument that he was defending himself when he knocked McCarthy out with one punch.
The punch knocked McCarthy back and he hit his head on the concrete outside a convenience store.
CCTV footage from the store showed Byrne taking a step back before swiftly punching McCarthy who was left lying on the ground unconscious.
The report says Byrne then walked away from the scene and was arrested the following day hiding out in his garage in Franklin.
Police charged Byrne with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm. He denied the allegations and said he thought Killarney native McCarthy was about to punch him.
Byrne told officers that he was standing with a group when McCarthy approached them and started giving some of them hugs.
The report says McCarthy had never met any of the men before and appeared intoxicated. He was giving a prolonged hug when Byrne said he tapped him twice in a bid to get him to stop.
In evidence, Byrne said the Irishman became aggressive and said he was better than him because he was Irish. He also claimed McCarthy told him that he wanted to fight.
Byrne’s barrister Anthony Hopkins said that the punch was proportionate to deal with the threat that McCarthy had posed.
Crown prosecutor Shane Drumgold suggested that Byrne viewed McCarthy as a ‘soft target’.
The judge found Byrne’s evidence was unreliable and said that he could not have believed it was necessary to punch McCarthy to defend himself.
She said the punch was ‘intentionally powerful’ and that in delivering it, Byrne knew that it would cause serious injury. She also said that the punch was not an instinctive reaction as Byrne had time to reflect on what he was about to do.
McCarthy, now back with his family in Ireland, underwent surgery after the incident which involved removing a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure.
The report says it is understood that no members of the family were in the court.
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