A Circuit Court judge dealing with an assault case in Co Sligo has said that the criminal compensation scheme in Ireland is totally inadequate.

Addressing an attack which resulted in a man having his jaw broken in two places, Judge Keenan Johnson said the case at Sligo CircuitCourt illustrates the absence of a proper compensation scheme.

He said a fortune is spent on incarcerating people, but asked what use that is to the victim in this case.

Judge Johnson imposed a suspended four-year sentence on Stephen Robinson of First Sea Road, Sligo for assaulting Niall Gallagher at Grattan Street in Sligo in April 2014 in an unprovoked attack.

The court was told that Mr Gallagher was on his way home from a night out with his cousin when Robinson started hassling her.

He struck Mr Gallagher when he stood between them and told Robinson to back off.

In a victim impact statement read to the court Mr Gallagher said he had to have two titanium plates and screws implanted in his jaw but still has numbness on one side and has been told he may never get feeling back.

He said the assault could not have come at a worse time for him because he was studying for exams and was on course to get a 2.1 but ended up with a 2.2 and as a result does not meet the requirements to do a Masters degree or to apply for some jobs.

He said the idea of being assaulted again still haunts him.

The court heard that Robinson had paid €5,000 in compensation to Mr Gallagher and he produced a further €3,000.

However Judge Johnson said that was not enough and if this was a civil case Mr Gallagher would likely be awarded €75,000.

He directed that Mr Robinson pay a further €22,000 in five annual instalments.

Judge Johnson said he was imposing a sentence of four years and six months, reduced to four years because of his guilty plea, but he would not reduce it any further because Robinson had slipped bail. 

He suspended the four years on strict conditions, including the payment of compensation and said Robinson is lucky to be walking out of court.

The only reason he is not in jail, the judge said, is because it would not benefit Mr Gallagher.