A Dublin father has been jailed for his role in a vicious racist assault on an African PhD student which left him permanently disfigured and blind in one eye.
Luke Casey (25) beat Mapfumo Cuidzambwa (30) with a hurley about his body while his co-accused, Stephen Mooney (24) struck his head a number of times with a golf club, breaking the unarmed victim's facial bones and sinking his right eye into its socket.
Witnesses to the assault later told gardai that Mooney could be heard shouting "Do you want to see me crack a n****r's skull?"
Mooney, of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin was jailed for four years last July. He is also serving a four-and-a-half year sentence for attempting to rape a girl at a house party while he was on bail for the assault.
Casey of Greenfort Gardens, Clondalkin, was jailed for three years and nine months by Judge Patricia Ryan after she twice emphasized that the maximum penalty available to the court was five years.
She said she had to reduce this sentence on the basis of Casey's guilty plea and also took into account the State's evidence that it was Mooney who had inflicted the serious injuries and who had instigated the attack.
Both men pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr Cuidzambwa causing him harm and criminal damage of two cars at Greenfort Lawns in the early hours of 1 October, 2006.
Detective Garda Paul Kelly told Mr Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Mooney and Casey had been at the same house party as Mr Cuidzambwa in Clondalkin along with a number of Zimbabwean nationals.
Mooney was asked to leave after he made unwelcome advances to a number of the women at the gathering. He took exception to this and both he and Casey damaged a number of vehicles that were parked outside the house.
The party-goers went out to investigate but Mr Cuidzambwa was heading for home with his uncle when he was set upon.
Mr Cuidzambwa had moved to Ireland from Zimbabwe in 2001 to study electronic engineering in UCD. He was studying for a PhD in wireless communication when he was attacked.
His victim impact report stated that he had to live with the horror of the assault on a daily basis and is reminded of it every time he sees his facial scars whenever he passes a reflective surface.
He described the attack as happening in "a racially charged environment". He had to take a year out from his doctorate studies and when he returned there was no longer funding available and he was forced to scale down to a Masters Degree.
He said he has since had to "scavenge" for jobs that are meant for people with disabilities and he feels intimidated seeking jobs like cleaning and waiting tables to help his finances because he believes employers may be prejudiced.
"All the dreams I had have vanished and all the aspirations I had were snatched away by a golf club," Mr Cuidzambwa said.
Det Garda Kelly said Casey has one previous conviction for a road traffic offence.
He agreed with Mr McGillicuddy that it was the State's case that Mooney inflicted the major injuries and instigated the assault but Casey had participated in the assault.
Det Garda Kelly agreed with Mr Martin Giblin SC, defending, that his client was described by others at the party as being quiet and not causing any trouble.
He accepted that he has since seemed to settle down, is in a stable relationship and has a young child.
He further accepted that while Mooney was known to local gardaí at the time, he never had any previous dealings with Casey.
Mr Giblin said Mr Cuidzambwa had suffered "appalling injuries" but asked Judge Ryan to accept that his client's actions on the night had been "uncharacteristic".
He said Casey had €4,000 in court to offer as a token of his remorse but acknowledged that this was "pitiful". He said, however, that Casey had gone to a great deal of trouble to put that money together.
Judge Ryan said Casey had participated in "the event that caused the injuries" to "an unarmed individual".
She said Mr Cuidzambwa had been left with a major cosmetic defect which caused him concern, distress and suffering and which had also impaired his studies and ability to find work even though he is highly qualified.
Mr Cuidzambwa told the court at Mooney's sentence hearing that he had struggled financially from when he started college but the scholarship had given him a "glimmer of hope" and he had believed his financial future would be bright.
Since the attack he gets headaches, his injuries have inhibited his working ability and his concentration has suffered.
Mr Cuidzambwa said the loans he has accumulated to a total €20,000 are like a noose around his neck.
"If I hadn't suffered the vicious attack, my prospects would be different," he said.
He said he had to stop participating in all physical sports, he can only sleep on one side and though doctors managed to seal leaking spinal fluid after the attack, he now cannot do any strenuous activity.
He said doctors have advised him against taking flights because of potential aneurysms and the heat in Africa causes headaches, which means he cannot enjoy a trip home.
Mr Cuidzambwa outlined the social division between black and white people which had existed in Zimbabwe as he was growing up, but which eased in the 1990s.
He said his first proper interaction with white people had been when he attended Catholic secondary school run by Irish priests who had recommended he furthered his studies in UCD.
He said when he arrived to Ireland he did not think there were any social boundaries because he made college friends easily and participated in social events.
Since the attack he has limited contact with white people.
Mr Cuidzambwa said he moved house but does not yet know his neighbours, does not trust people looking into his home and tries to be indoors by 6pm each day.
He said he has become a loner and must live with the attack for the rest of his life.