By Stephen Bourke
A 51-year-old man has been given a suspended sentence for slashing the hand of a McDonald’s security guard with a box-cutter as he struggled to keep him out of the restaurant.
Clive Kavanagh, with an address at Aldborough Lodge, Swords Road, Santry, pleaded guilty in March this year to assaulting Kennedy Miranda causing him harm at the fast food chain’s restaurant on Upper O’Connell Street in Dublin on October 25, 2018.
A second charge of producing a knife during the row was taken into consideration for sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.
Judge Karen O’Connor said the court had already heard the evidence of gardaí in the matter and that she was satisfied to proceed to sentencing.
Judge O’Connor said that in a statement made to gardaí two days after the attack, Mr Miranda said he was working as a door guard at the restaurant that evening.
Kavanagh was “visibly covered in blood on his face and chest” and smelled strongly of alcohol. He was refused entry, but pressed ahead anyway, she said.
Judge O’Connor said Mr Miranda told gardaí he tried to “tackle” him, but “felt a sharp pain” in his hand as he did so.
He saw Kavanagh trying to stab him and swinging the knife in his direction before customers intervened.
Judge O’Connor said Mr Miranda had to be treated in A&E for the wound, which had to be closed with sutures, and still has an ugly scar.
When Kavanagh was arrested, Judge O’Connor said, he gave a “less than compelling version of events” to gardaí at first.
“He indicated he had a spoon up his sleeve he used for taking heroin,” she said.
Kavanagh told gardaí he was covered in blood when he went to McDonald’s was because he had been drinking in the Mountjoy Square area that day and had been “attacked” earlier.
He went on to admit carrying the box cutter “for protection”, and said he was sorry for what he had done.
“This was a horrible injury to Mr Miranda,” Judge O’Connor said, adding that the scar had damaged his hand aesthetically and the event had a psychological effect on him too.
She said Mr Miranda believes himself “lucky” that he wasn’t hurt more badly because of the way Kavanagh was swinging the knife.
“His family in Brazil are worried for him being abroad when they should be happy for him making a better life for himself,” she said.
She said Kavanagh has “a long history of offending behaviour” and a number of previous convictions, and that the impact of the offence on Mr Miranda was an aggravating factor too.
“The accused carried a knife, a serious weapon with a retractable blade,” she said, adding that doing so in a crowded restaurant also added to the gravity of the offence.
Co-operation was “not immediate”, she said, but Kavanagh indicated that he would enter a plea early and did so at the first opportunity.
Reports submitted to the court show he has “significant housing needs” and a “complex medical history involving life-long therapy”, having received a liver transplant some years ago, and a severe alcoholism, she said.
She was also told Kavanagh had “deteriorating cognitive function”, something she said was backed up by the fact he had appeared twice in her court the previous day in a “confused” state.
The offence “would normally attract a custodial sentence”, she said, but Kavanagh is clearly “a vulnerable person”.
She imposed a sentence of two and a half years imprisonment, suspended the sentence in full, for the assault on Mr Miranda, with the charge of producing the knife taken into account.
“He’s 51 years of age now and I sincerely hope I will not see Mr Kavanagh again.”