Dublin man who assaulted lesbian couple receives suspended sentence

A 21-year-old man received a suspended sentence following a 2022 assault on a lesbian couple in Dun Laoghaire.

The Dublin Criminal Court of Justice where a man received a suspended sentence for assaulting a lesbian couple. The image shows the grey and glass exterior of the building.
Image: Ross Mahon via Shutterstock

A Dublin student who pleaded guilty to assaulting a lesbian couple in Dun Laoghaire in August of 2022 has been given a fully suspended sentence. 

The incident in question took place on August 11, 2022, on Church St, Dun Laoghaire, where the student, Charlie Lawlor, admitted to assaulting two women as well as throwing homophobic slurs at them. 

Prior to the attack, 21-year-old Lawlor and his girlfriend were chatting with the couple at The Lighthouse pub. The two couples’ paths had crossed earlier that evening. 

The assault occurred when the two women attempted to intervene after an argument between Lawlor and his girlfriend turned violent. When they tried to step in to help, the women reported that Lawlor began throwing homophobic slurs at them, including phrases like “dirty gays”.

The couple issued a joint victim impact statement following the assault. The statement was read out in court by the investigating officer, and claimed that the two women were “emotionally scarred” as a result of Lawlor’s actions. The couple similarly referred to Lawlor as a “homophobic man under the influence of alcohol.”

The assault landed one of the women in the hospital where she later required surgery to address her injuries. As a result, the woman now has a visible facial scar. 

Speaking to the court, the woman said that while the scar was a “permanent reminder and testament of the brutality we endured that night,” their injuries following the assault were not only physical but also mental and emotional. 

“Our lives have been irrevocably changed by this heinous act,” they said. The women similarly added that they hoped the court would take into consideration the tremendous effect that the attack had on them both as they work to rebuild their “shattered sense of security.”

Lawlor’s sentence was passed down on Wednesday, January 31, by Circuit Judge Martin Nolan. During sentencing, Judge Nolan said that Lawlor should be “thoroughly ashamed” for his unprovoked violence. 

“He lost control and attacked this unfortunate couple and he was abusive while attacking them. He was very disrespectful and very insulting in the remarks he made,” Judge Nolan told the court. 

The court was similarly made aware that, since the attack, Lawlor has made €7,000 available in compensation to the more seriously injured woman, who, according to Judge Nolan, suffered severe blood loss as well as requiring numerous stitches for a mouth laceration that left her with facial disfigurement. 

During sentencing, Judge Nolan ordered Lawlor to produce an additional €7,000 in compensation for the woman, as well as an additional €1,000 to her partner within the next nine months. Should the women refuse to accept the compensation from Lawlor, it is to be donated to a local charity instead. 

In addition to facing fines, Lawlor was similarly sentenced to two and a half years in prison. However, the sentence was suspended in full, meaning that Lawlor will not face jail time for the attack on the lesbian couple, so long as he does not get into further trouble for the duration of his suspended sentence. 

Lawlor’s defence counsel, Olan Callanan BL, referred to him as a “decent young man” and admitted that Lawlor’s actions “would ordinarily merit a custodial sentence.” 

However, Callanan urged Judge Nolan not to jail Lawlor, citing the incident as his first offence, as well as claiming that Lawlor had shown expressions of remorse for his actions. 

According to Callanan, Lawlor has since attended counselling “to try to understand how he could have committed this type of offence”. 

“Once someone does something wrong, all they can do is try and face it,” said the defence counsel. “He has done everything that can be done to face it.” 

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