Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Fiachra Gallagher

A woman who repeatedly punched and stabbed another woman in a dispute over a €50 note following a planned drug deal has been jailed for eight years.

Martina Rooney (39) believed the woman held money belonging to her when the prolonged assault took place in Temple Bar last summer.

Rooney’s co-accused, Karl Fishe (35), was jailed for two years for his part in the assault.

Rooney, with an address at Stanhope Green, Stanhope Street, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to counts of assault causing serious harm and robbery on June 13th, 2020, at Adare Lane and Price’s Lane, Dublin 2.

She has 73 previous convictions and was on bail for a theft offence at the time of the assault.

Fishe, with an address at Ashgrove, The Coombe, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm on the same date. He has 124 previous convictions.

Lacerations

Medical reports submitted to the court noted the victim sustained “extensive facial bruising”, lacerations to the back, buttock and thigh.
Judge Elma Sheahan noted the “savagery” of the assault, and condemned the “persistent punching and stabbing” of the victim by Rooney.

Judge Sheahan compared the attack to films depicting “the worst of human behaviour”. She noted that Fishe was “fully aware of the level of violence” implicated in the attack, but accepted that his role in the incident was lesser than that of his co-accused.

Garda Sean McCarthy told Ms Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that Rooney and the injured party had been in Temple Bar together on the afternoon of June 13th when the accused realised she was missing a €50 note.

Suspecting the woman had the money, Rooney proceeded to physically search her on the pavement, removing her clothing while doing so. The situation escalated when Rooney began to beat the woman and used an implement to stab her multiple times on the head and body.

Co-accused

During the assault, Karl Fishe arrived at the scene with another male. He held the injured party’s hair while the struggle between the two women continued and left about a minute later.

Gda McCartan told the court that the incident lasted about nine minutes, before both women travelled to Price’s Lane, where Rooney again began to beat the injured party.

The victim was present in court on Wednesday, and reading her victim impact statement, she said that her “whole life changed” after the assault. She told the court of lasting scarring sustained from the attack and her struggles with panic attacks.

The victim, who is expecting a baby with her partner in a few weeks, said the attack has “taken the joy out of my pregnancy”, adding: “I don’t trust anybody.”

A phone, a number of social welfare cards, and a sum of €175 were taken from the victim during the ordeal and were not recovered.

With the aid of CCTV and DNA testing, gardaí linked Rooney to the assault and arrested her the evening of the crime. Fishe was arrested one week later, on June 30th, 2020. Both have been in custody since their initial arrests.

Drug deal

Barry White SC, defending Rooney, told the court that Rooney and the injured party initially met to engage in a drug deal on the date in question.

He said his client was someone who “has had little opportunity in life” and has struggled with addiction to hard drugs for years.

Mr White told the court Rooney’s father was not present when she was a child and her mother was a drug addict who spent time in prison.

James Dwyer SC, defending Fishe, read a letter of support for his client, penned by his grandmother, who had raised the accused man after his parents died when he was young. Mr Dwyer asked the court to design a sentence that would “incentivise” Fishe to continue his recovery from drug addiction.

Judge Elma Sheahan noted the “savagery” of the assault, and condemned the “persistent punching and stabbing” of the victim by Rooney.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Rooney to nine years imprisonment, with the final 12 months suspended on strict conditions.

She sentenced Fishe to two years and eight months imprisonment, with the final eight months suspended on strict conditions including that he come under the supervision of the Probation Service for 16 months following his release.

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