A SIX-man fight in the street which resulted in one man being stamped on the head while on the ground causing him to lose three teeth landed all the parties before the recent Circuit Court.
Jason Murphy, Vicarstown, Ryan Lewis, St Brigid’s Place, Portlaoise, and Padraig Campbell, Mountmellick, were all charged with assault, while Martin Carroll, Stradbally, Adrian Bennett, Vicarstown, and Daniel Byrnes, originally from Portlaoise but now living in Dublin, were all charged with violent disorder.
Daniel Byrnes was also charged with the production of an article in the course of a dispute.
The offences were committed at Main Street, Portlaoise, on September 18, 2011.
Garda Sgt Barry Collins, led by State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly, gave evidence.
A minor altercation occurred in a night club between Daniel Byrnes and another man, which led to words being exchanged outside the club between Byrnes and Adrian Bennett. A fist fight began between the two and was broken up by Martin Carroll, but Byrnes then produced a bottle. The bottle was knocked out of his hand and a fight began between Byrnes and Carroll. CCTV footage obtained by the gardaí showed that Jason Murphy then came running up the street and punched Byrnes in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground. The footage then showed Ryan Lewis coming in behind Murphy and stamping on Byrnes’ head twice. Campbell was also observed stamping on Byrnes’ head at least once. Byrnes was rendered unconscious and was taken to hospital. He had three teeth broken and was left with a facial injury.
Defence for Murphy, Mr Simon McDonald, pointed out that Daniel Byrnes was at the centre of the incident, and while he was the victim of the assault he was also the main player.
“What are you suggesting?” asked Judge Tony Hunt. “Rough justice?”
Mr McDonald said that there had been no bad blood since between the parties and he added that Murphy had not been involved in the original incident in the night club.
“That’s correct,” said Sgt Collins, “but he ran across the road and got involved in something that didn’t concern him.”
Mr McDonald told the court that Murphy had €500 compensation to offer Byrnes. Mr McDonald also represented Carroll, who had €1,000 compensation.
Defence for Lewis, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick, said that her client had expressed remorse over the attack. Defence for Campbell, Mr Barry Finlay said his client had €1,000 compensation saved. Bennett’s defence said that Bennett no longer socialises in Portlaoise, while defence for Byrnes said that Byrnes was the only one who suffered in the incident.
“But he does seem to be the author of this,” remarked Judge Hunt.
Campell, Carroll and Bennett were all given 120 hours’ community service in lieu of 12 months in prison. Their cases were put back to April 23.
The judge declared that both Murphy and Lewis have “issues” which need addressing, and he put their cases back to April 23 for a probation report.
In relation to Byrnes, Judge Hunt said: “He’s clearly responsible for provoking the situation, and what he started was clearly finished. He took the blows and suffered the injuries, which is punishment in itself.”
He ordered Byrnes to complete the same amount of community service, 120 hours in lieu of 12 months in prison.
Byrnes was also given the €2,500 compensation that was brought to court.