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College lecturer and father get suspended sentence for assault

Judge said vicious assault was entirely out of character and is difficult to understand

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

Court case - Ballyshannon woman survives attack

Gerard and Guanitta Brady pictured at a previous court sitting. Picture: Thomas Gallagher

A college lecturer who kicked and punched a woman on the ground during an assault in Ballyshannon has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Guanitta Brady, of 59 Bates Pk, Greenisland, Co Antrim was sentenced along with her father, Gerard Brady (56), of Loughill, Belleek, Co Fermanagh.
Both defendants admitted assault causing harm to Rebecca Kennedy at Market Street, Ballyshannon on February 5 last year.
The sentencing hearing at Letterkenny Circuit Criminal Court heard that the assault had been captured on CCTV.
Judge John Aylmer said the assault was of a very vicious nature.
Guanitta Brady also admitted assaulting Simon Ferris on the same date.
A previous hearing heard that the Bradys had assaulted the victim following an earlier incident in the smoking room of Dicey Reilly’s public house.
Gerard Brady had been drinking heavily when he saw his daughter bleeding where an earring had been pulled from her ear.
Ms Brady has a Ph.D. in software engineering and was a lecturer in Belfast Metropolitan College at the time of the incident. She has since lost her post due to the assault.
She was out celebrating a birthday and an altercation had taken place with  Rebecca Kennedy and other persons earlier in the evening.
Judge Aylmer said Ms Brady had carried out a sustained assault on Ms Kennedy, kicking her on the ground and kneeling over her to deliver at least 13 blows to her head and body.
He said Ms Kennedy had suffered very serious consequences including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
The judge said offence merited a custodial sentence of three years.
He placed the offence by Mr Brady, who admitted kicking the victim, merited a sentence of two years.
For Ms Brady, mitigating factors included an early plea, her record of previous good behaviour, a very good work history and a history of voluntary and charity work.
“This was entirely out of character and is difficult to understand,” he said.
Ms Brady had a history of anxiety since she was 19 and her mental health issues had been exacerbated by the offence, he said.
She was extremely remorseful and had displayed empathy.
Drunkenness was no excuse but her intake of alcohol seems to have reacted badly with her medication.
She had suffered the loss of her job, a very significant fall from grace and social media attention, he said.
Judge Aylmer said the case was so serious that there had to be a custodial element to the sentence.
He imposed a sentence of two years which was suspended on a bond of €100 and was bound over to keep the peace for two years.
The assault on Mr Ferris was taken into consideration.
The judge said Mr Brady had no previous convictions, had demonstrated remorse, and had entered a guilty plea.
He was previously of good character and would lose his job as a carer which he had held for 24 years.
Judge Aylmer reduced the custodial sentence to 18 months, suspending it for 18 months.

READ MORE: Father and daughter charged with assaulting woman and man in Ballyshannon