Man gets 9 years for sword attack
on 31/10/2013 00:00:00
Evidence was heard at Clonmel Circuit Court earlier in the year but sentencing was postponed until yesterday after it emerged McCarthy was under the terms of a suspended prison sentence when he committed the offences in Cappawhite on Mar 30, 2012.
Judge Pauline Codd heard Mr Butler is a veteran of two tours of duty in the Lebanon with the army and was a prominent community and voluntary activist before he was attacked.
Since the incident, during which McCarthy struck Mr Butler on the head with a metre-long ornamental sword and caused a "penetrating injury to the brain", Mr Butler was left with paralysis in his right arm and leg, having to walk with a stick, and a vocabulary of just four words - 'yes', 'no,' 'fine', and 'bye'.
Judge Codd yesterday said McCarthy had left the scene of an altercation, in which he was injured, to get the sword and then returned "with a dangerous weapon and used it in a most terrifying manner".
Among the factors in the case was "the catastrophic and life-changing injuries sustained by Mr Butler as a result of the defendant's actions", she said.
Mitigating factors included McCarthy's guilty plea, the fact that he sustained an injury during the row with a group of people, and had written a letter of apology to Mr Butler.
"It's a tragedy that he destroyed two lives on that night, his own and that of Mr Butler, together with their two families," the judge said.
She imposed a nine-year sentence for the assault charge, backdated six months to allow for time served, and two concurrent two-year sentences for the production of a weapon and violent disorder.
McCarthy, who has a history of drink and drug problems but has been clean lately, hugged family members before he was taken away by prison staff.
Afterwards, Paul Butler read out a statement on behalf of his brother in which he thanked the emergency services, medical staff, and gardaí who helped him since the assault, his family and friends, as well as the community in Cappawhite, "who have been so supportive and have helped me to try and rebuild my life and look to the future".
He said they accepted the judge's ruling: "At the end of the day, that man [McCarthy] can count the days until he comes home. Martin has no days to count and has a life sentence."
Life had been "very difficult" for Mr Butler and the family since the incident last year, he said.