A DISTRICT Court Judge told an 18-year-old Dunmanway student to refrain from wearing a sports jersey in his court again as he said he wasn’t a sportsman, but ‘a thug.’
Judge James McNulty made the comment at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court to Oisín O’Donovan of The Shamrock Bar, Market Square, Dunmanway who appeared in court, wearing a Cork GAA jersey.
Oisín, along with his brother Cairbre O’Donovan of 26 Coach Rd, Dunmanway, and Vincent Roche of Mary St, Dunmanway, were convicted of the assault of Joseph O’Neill in Clonakilty on July 19th 2015.
Judge McNulty ordered probation reports to be carried out on all three defendants and adjourned the case for penalty until May 16th.
Joseph O’Neill told the court that he was out in Clonakilty on July 19th 2015 and had left the Emmet Hotel when he noticed a scuffle going on near a taxi outside. He said he knew the girls in the taxi and they told him one of the defendants was trying to get into the taxi with them and he intervened and moved the defendant away.
‘As I was waiting for my friend to go to a chipper, three or four lads approached me and dragged me to the ground and started kicking and beating me. The gardaí came along and my friend John Hayes came too and pulled the lads off me. I recognised Vincent Roche as one of the men who assaulted me.’
Both men were then making their way home when they heard the three defendants running down the street after them.
‘I got a box to the head and fell forward and two of them started assaulting me, boxing me in the head and I got a fist in the face. After about five minutes they were eventually pulled off us. I suffered a bloody nose, bruising to the head and face, as well as aches and pains but no broken bones.’
John Hayes told the court that when he left the Emmet Hotel he saw three or four lads attack Joseph and he went up and pulled them off him.
‘We headed away and as I was ringing for a taxi I could hear a voice saying “you’re not so tough now” and they had followed us and became aggressive,’ said John Hayes.
Gda Kevin Kennedy told the court he was on duty on the night and came across the first ruckus where he saw one man on the ground with two other men punching him. Gda Kennedy said the two men were Vincent Roche and Oisín O’Donovan and that Mr O’Neill had his hands up trying to stop them.
‘I spoke with them and I also took pictures of them. Both of them were drunk and were slurred in their speech and they had dry blood on their clothing.
‘They said the incident was a thing of nothing and said they were attacked. They were told to leave the scene and both parties had by now gone their separate ways,’ said Gda Kennedy.
Gda Kennedy said he came across the defendants again on Ashe St when he saw three males running down a footpath and he shouted at them to stop.
‘Cairbre and Vincent stopped and Vincent’s face was bloodied and Cairbre’s shirt was ripped and when I asked them what happened, they said they fell. They were laughing and joking and there was no mention of an assault.’
The court was told that CCTV on the night identified the three defendants running down the street and it also showed a shop window being smashed at Nuala’s Corner which Oisín O’Donovan admitted doing.
Cairbre O’Donovan told the court that he wasn’t there when the first incident happened, but that when he came out of the Venue nightclub, he saw the two lads involved in a scuffle and broke it up.
Insp Foley said there was no CCTV footage of an incident outside the Venue and he put it to Mr O’Donovan that he assaulted and beat the injured parties.
Vincent Roche told the court that all he remembers from the night was that someone was pushing Oisín out of a taxi but that he was nowhere near the taxi. Insp Foley said that Mr Roche’s recollection of the night is at total variance with what was being said in court.
Oisín O’Donovan told the court that he was at the taxi on the night talking to girls, when Mr O’Neill came up and pushed him away.
Insp Foley said all three defendants were drunk and causing trouble and had been directed to leave the town centre, but they continued to chase the injured parties following the earlier incident.
‘The genesis appears to be a squabble at a taxi with someone not getting the message. Thereafter it’s clear all three defendants were acting together and the CCTV shows three men on a mission running into trouble, as opposed to running away,’ said Judge McNulty.
‘It’s clear from the footage that Mr O’Neill and Mr Hayes were walking away from trouble. The court also has to accept the evidence of the three accused who had lots of drink taken on the night. The evidence of both Cairbre and Oisín contains inconsistencies and it is not credible and not truthful.’
The court was told that all three defendants have previous convictions for public order offences.
Judge McNulty said he was going to take a very long hard look at all three defendants and said there is no tolerance for serious public order offences in West Cork.
He added that the most frightening aspect of the case was the fact that Oisín is still a schoolboy and yet was involved in such levels of drunkenness.
‘I would ask the probation officer to pay particular attention to Oisín, as I wouldn’t wait until he kills someone. The court can’t wait for a fatality,’ added Judge McNulty.