Dubliner Anthony Clifford (23) has been sentenced to six-years in prison for attacking two American tourists. The victims, Garth and Patrick Russell, had tried to stop a robbery in the Temple Bar area of the city.
Clifford, of Mourne Road, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. He was charged with two counts of violent disorder on Apr 29, 2012. He is also serving time for a separate charge of hijacking.
New York stockbroker Garth Russell was left with permanent facial scarring after the attack during which he was hit by flying glass. Russell told the Dublin court that his career has suffered as he no longer meets with clients.
His brother Patrick had his arm broken during the attack by the violent group.
Speaking in court, police officer Amanda Flood told prosecuting counsel how the attack took place.
The brothers had been staying in Temple Bar and were walking through the area during the evening when they came across a man on the ground surrounded by a group of youths. The Russell brothers then realized that the man was being robbed.
Garth stepped in and said “come on guys, break it up” and threatened to call the police. The gang told him to mind his own business and began “squaring up to” Garth.
At this point Patrick stepped in and the youths began to throw punches. The Russell brothers fled down an alley towards the quays along the River Liffey. The group followed throwing glass bottles.
The Russell brothers tried to get into several taxis but the drivers would not let them in.
The gang then caught up with the brothers and began to beat them with the bottles. It was then Garth was hit in the face. He also received a blow to the head which knocked him out.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring criticized the failure of the Dublin public to help the victims, saying the attack “happened in a public place, on the quays, in one of the busiest places in the city and yet shamefully no one came to the assistance of these men.”
Judge Ring called it “an outrageous attack” and added that the accused could have been facing eight years in prison if he had stood trial.
Police did not arrive at the scene until after the attack. However, they recognized Clifford from the CCTV footage. He has 55 previous offenses. After his arrest he told the police that he was “just helping his mates.”
The Irish courts have heard that several others are alleged to have been involved in the attack. Their cases will go to trial next June.