Teen’s street assault caused brain haemorrhage

August 30, 2017 | By More

A teenager has been jailed for a street assault that caused his victim a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage.

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Shane Kelliher, a first offender, was sent to prison for three years by Christchurch District Court Judge Alistair Garland.

Since his arrest in February, Kelliher had been held in custody. He said in a letter to the judge that the time in custody was the first time he had been 100 percent sober for a long time.

Kelliher said in the letter that he was determined to stay clear of drugs, and not to repeat this type of behaviour.

“Time will tell whether you can meet those expectations,” said Judge Garland. “I sincerely hope you can.”

Kelliher had admitted a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and a charge of theft of $515 by a person in a special relationship – stealing from the till at the McDonalds outlet where he worked.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane said Kelliher acknowledged that imprisonment was the only possible sentence that could be imposed. He accepted that his response to the perceived threat when he thought the man was reaching for a weapon was “out of all proportion to reality”.

Judge Garland said he had received an “insightful” letter from Kelliher’s sister which spoke of his hard upbringing, and made sad reading.

Kelliher was with a group under the Moorhouse Avenue overbridge on January 26 when he took exception to comments a 53-year-old man made as he passed.

There was an argument. Kelliher’s associates tried to drag him away but he head-butted the man. The man hit his head as he fell, and then Kelliher also delivered a kick to the head before running away.

“People suffer permanent brain injury as a result of this sort of behaviour,” said Judge Garland.

They were potentially life-threatening injuries, but they appeared to be slowly resolving. “He still has a problem with his memory and has pain from nerve damage. He also suffered emotional harm and is receiving psychological counselling to help with that.”

He reduced Kelliher’s sentence for his youth, his clean record, and his early guilty pleas and made no order for reparations because the teenager had no means to pay.

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