An early admission of guilt can save a sentence of prison. This was seen in a recent case where a person contacted the Gardai after recognising himself on RTE’s Crimecall programme, assaulting a homeless woman.

The early admission of guilt and full cooperation with the Gardai resulting in a three-year suspended sentence and by doing that he almost certainly saved himself from a prison sentence.

The defendant, Derek Kavanagh, attended a work function where he had taken some drinks. After the event he left with some colleagues but became separated from them. He then encountered the homeless woman. This woman asked Kavanagh for €1. He said he would give her something ‘in a minute’ as he was on the phone. As he walked away, still on the phone, she followed him. She asked him was he giving her the money, he replied ‘yeah’ and asked her to follow him to the machine. At this point he lashed out and assaulted her.  The defendant told Gardai that he thought there was one or two people with the woman following him and he became afraid they would mug him or rob him. But on seeing the footage on the TV programme, he went to the Gardai the next day and identified himself as the person assaulting the woman. He said he was very sorry and that he overreacted believing that he was in danger.

The assault was a serious matter with the defendant pulling the woman to the ground and punching her in the face and head before putting his hands around her neck. There is little doubt but his surrendering to the Gardai, taking responsibility for his actions and guilty plea, saved him from prison.

DPP v Kavanagh Dublin Circuit Court (Judge Nolan) 28 February 2023