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Pair jailed for attacking a Spanish leader


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Two young men involved in an attack on a group of Spanish and Romanian friends, which left one of the Spaniards unconscious after being hit on the head with a golf club, were sentenced to three years and 18 months in prison.

Shane Cotter (20) from Annmount, Friars Walk in Cork was sentenced to four years in prison with one year suspended after pleading guilty to assault causing serious damage to 40 year old Spanish chef Jordi Roca in White Street in Cork January 23, 2012.

A co-accused, Danny O’Brien (20) of Brandon Cottages, Dillon’s Cross, Cork was sentenced to 30 months in prison with 12 months suspended after pleading guilty to violent unrest resulting from the same incident.

Detective Stephen Fuller recounted how Mr Roca and three Spanish friends and a Romanian friend were attacked after refusing cigarettes to two girls on White Street and three men then joined them and started attacking them.

Mr. Roca was trying to calm the situation when O’Brien retrieved a golf club from the trunk of his BMW and Cotter took it from him and smashed it into the side of Mr. Roca’s head, fracturing him skull and having knocked it out.

Mr Roca was taken to an unconscious staff by paramedics at Cork University Hospital, but regained consciousness the next morning and underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage to his skull, said Detective Garda Fuller.

He received some 21 staples and he had screws to hold his skull together, Detective Garda Fuller said, adding that the most serious consequence of the assault was that he had lost his sense of taste, which had a serious impact on his life as he was a chef.

He was working in a delicatessen in Cork at the time and was planning to apply for a chef position, but due to his injury and inability to taste the food he was unable to apply for any chef position, a said Det Garda Fuller.

Neither Cotter nor O’Brien were drinking or taking drugs at the time of the attack and Cotter later told Gardai in an interview that he intended to kill Mr Roca that night, a declared the court. “I was angry, I wanted to kill him,” Cotter told Gardaí.

Both men apologized for the attack and Cotter told Judge Patrick Moran that he was the person who attacked Mr Roca and his co-accused, O’Brien, should not be punished for what he did. .

Judge Moran noted that Cotter had 49 previous convictions, including five of assault causing damage while O’Brien had 84 prior convictions and he was still unsure why they attacked Mr. Roca and his friends.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Roca said he was not satisfied with the sentences handed down to the two men and said he believed they were far too lenient for the violent assault which had a huge impact on his life.

“I’m not happy with these sentences. I have no sense of taste as a result of this attack – if you owned a restaurant, would you employ a chef who can’t taste what he’s cooking – that’s what I have to live with for the rest of my life, ”Mr. Roca said.

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