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Letterkenny man pleads guilty to vicious assault

A Letterkenny man has pleaded guilty to the vicious assault of another man in the town last year.

John Sweeney was filmed assaulting the victim at Burnside Park, Letterkenny, on October 29, 2022.

Sweeney, who has an address at Burnside Apartments, has been in custody for the last year. He was brought before Letterkenny Circuit Court this week to be formally arraigned before Judge John Aylmer.

Sweeney spoke only to plead guilty to a charge of assaulting Sloan Murphy and causing him harm.

Barrister for Sweeney, Mr Peter Nolan BL, asked for the preparation of a probation and welfare report on Sweeney. Mr Nolan said Sweeney has been working in prison and was described as being ‘a very good prisoner’. He also asked for a governor’s report. 

Judge Aylmer granted the application for both reports and the matter was adjourned to the January sitting of Letterkenny Circuit Court.

Sweeney’s mother, who was present in court, said ‘love you, son’ as he was led away by prison officers.

Footage of the incident was widely circulated at the time.

Garda Detective Sergeant Johnny Sweeney previously told Letterkenny District Court that the attack was the worst he had seen in his 20 years of service.

Detective Sergeant Sweeney said the accused man, who has 54 previous convictions, was filmed “punching and kicking the victim several times continuously, and at one stage, running up to him akin to kicking a football”.