A German man living in Cahersiveen has been handed a three-year suspended sentence for an unprovoked assault in 2019.
37-year-old Christof Bardges, who’s a German national but has been living in Cahersiveen for decades, was sentenced by Judge Catherine Staines at Tralee Circuit Court.
He pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing harm to James Egan in the town on September 25th, 2019.
Sergeant Adrian Brennan gave evidence that the injured party Mr Egan was working at a charity shop in Cahersiveen at the time, and was out taking a smoke break about 12 midday on the day in question with another co-worker.
Sgt Brennan said the accused, who was well known to the victim, approached the two men carrying a plank of wood, and the court heard this was a common occurrence.
Sgt Brennan agreed with the prosecution that Mr Bardges then suddenly, and inexplicably became aggressive despite no communication with Mr Egan.
He punched Mr Egan in the side of the head, and Mr Egan’s account became blurred after this point because of the head trauma but he said he was held in a headlock and suffered a significant hip injury.
Mr Bardges was arrested under the Mental Health Act, and when he was arrested in connection with this assault 10 weeks later, was deemed unfit to be interviewed and was committed to a psychiatric facility for five weeks.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Egan says he suffers from pain 24/7 since the assault because of his injuries, and because of this pain he and his wife now have to sleep in separate beds.
He said he’s missing out on precious time with his grandchildren, as he is not active enough to be around them, and he walks with a very noticeable limp.
He said he now does not feel safe in Cahersiveen, and he needs someone with him when he is able to go outside.
Defending for Mr Bardges, Katie O’Connell said her client has schizophrenia and was significantly unwell at the time, hence his arrest under the Mental Health Act.
Ms O’Connell said his medication has since been regularised, and Sgt Brennan agreed he has never come to the attention of gardaí when he is taking his medication.
Ms O’Connell said he entered a guilty plea very early on, and was very remorseful, and his family can offer €3,000 in compensation on their limited income.
Addressing the court, Mr Egan said he does not want to see Mr Bardges in prison, he wants to see him get the help he needs.
Judge Catherine Staines sentenced him to three years in prison, suspended for five years on his own bond subject to four conditions.
These are that he must engage with the mental health team, comply with prescribed medication, abstain from illegal substances and alcohol, and provide the compensation to Mr Egan, who will likely require hip replacement surgery.
Mr Bardges told Judge Staines he has been sober for two years now.