Man (44) jailed for stamping on friend’s head after being attacked on Luas tram

Court told Gareth Duffy from Irishtown, Dublin has made ‘exceptional steps’ in overcoming addiction since incident

A man who stamped on his friend’s head and continued to kick him while he lay unconscious on a packed Luas tram has been jailed for a year.

The court heard that witnesses saw Gareth Duffy (44) being struck in the face by a make-shift weapon by the victim before Duffy managed to get the upper hand and knock his friend to the ground.

CCTV footage shown to the court showed all the passengers leaving the tram while Duffy was repeatedly stamping on the man’s head while he lay on the floor. Duffy then got off the tram but twice returned and kicked the man in the head.

Duffy, of Stella Gardens, Irishtown, Dublin 4, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on July 6th, 2019. He has 114 previous convictions for offences such as assault, public order and violence in a Garda station.


Garda Eoin Cannon told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that Duffy remained at the scene until gardaí, including members of the Emergency Response Unit, arrived.

Did not co-operate

The victim remained unconscious on the floor of the tram and was given emergency medical assistance by gardaí until an ambulance arrived. The victim did not co-operate with the Garda investigation or make a victim impact statement. There was no medical report in court to outline his injuries.

Mr Berry advised Judge Pauline Codd before the footage was played in court that the assault was quite shocking.

Garda Cannon agreed that a make-shift weapon, which he described as two fondue forks taped together, was recovered. He acknowledged that Duffy had cuts to his face and that there was no evidence that Duffy had used this weapon himself.

Garda Cannon said Duffy never disputed that he attacked the victim, but claimed he was acting in self-defence after the man had used the weapon on him. He agreed with David Perry BL, for Duffy, that the two men had been friends for 18 months and were captured on CCTV footage getting on the Luas together.

‘Kept going’

He accepted that from witness statements and Duffy’s account to gardaí that the victim assaulted Duffy unprovoked with the weapon. He further accepted that the main issue was that Duffy “kept going” with the attack and “showed a complete lack of control” and was clearly “in a rage”.

Mr Perry said his client left school at 13, had developed an addiction to heroin by the age of 14 and progressed to taking the drug intravenously by the time he was 18. He said Duffy has not used drugs in four years and handed testimonials which stated that he had turned his life around by “successfully overcoming his addiction”.

Judge Codd acknowledge that Duffy had taken “exceptional steps” in his rehabilitation but said that level of violence on a public tram could not be ignored. She said the victim was lying “prostrate” when Duffy came back twice and kicked him further in the head, having earlier stomped on his head.

She described the violence as appalling and warranted a headline sentence of five years. She imposed a sentence of four years before she suspended the final three years of the sentence on strict conditions.