Six-man fight on the street in Portlaoise

A SIX-man street fight which resulted in one man being kicked in the head while on the ground causing him to lose three teeth landed all the parties before the circuit court.

A SIX-man street fight which resulted in one man being kicked in the head while on the ground causing him to lose three teeth landed all the parties before the circuit court.

Jason Murphy, Kildare, 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.

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.

The men originally appeared before Judge Tony Hunt in January, were the judge imposed community service orders on Campell, Carroll, Bennett and Byrne. The judge declared that both Murphy and Lewis had “issues” which needed addressing, and he put their cases back to April 23 for a probation report.

At last week’s court, Campbell, Carroll, Bennett and Byrne were all found suitable for 120 hours’ community service in lieu of 12 months in prison. They each paid €1,000 compensation. As none of them had previous convictions, Judge Hunt warned that he did not want to see them before the court again.

In relation to Murphy, who had 19 previous convictions, Judge Hunt declared that community service was for “a different category of person”, as Murphy has not behaved himself in the past.

Murphy was sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years on his own bond of €300 on condition he keep the peace. He must also submit to the supervision of the probation service for nine months.

In relation to Lewis, defence, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick admitted it would be disingenuous to say the probation report on her client was positive. “But there are positive parts to it,” she said.

Judge Hunt imposed a sentence of two years and six months, but suspended this for three years on Lewis’ own bond of €300 to be of good behaviour. Lewis must also engage with the probation service, as the judge ruled he required ongoing help.