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Row interrupted €25,000 bowling score on Skibbereen’s Marsh Road

March 28th, 2024 3:30 PM

Row interrupted €25,000 bowling score on Skibbereen’s Marsh Road Image
The bowling match took place on the Marsh Road in Skibbereen.

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A MAN who came to Skibbereen as a road ‘shower’ at a bowling event claimed he was set upon and seriously assaulted by two men.

The allegation against the two men – one of whom was related to another bowler – was made by David Sugrue of Ard Bhaile, Mayfield in Cork, Skibbereen District Court recently heard.

Samuel Kingston of Ballyleigh, Leamlara, denied assaulting David Sugrue causing him harm during the event on Skibbereen’s Marsh Road on March 20th, 2022.

The co-accused, Tadhg O’Driscoll of Clash West, Leamlara, also denied assaulting David Sugrue causing him harm.

In addition, both Kingston and O’Driscoll were charged with a public order offence of engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

David Sugrue, who was called as a witness for the prosecution, also appeared as a defendant, having been charged with engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

Each of the three defendants denied the charges against them and many allegations and counter allegations were made.

In evidence for the prosecution, David Sugrue said he was assisting his player, Martin Coppinger, by showing him the road during the afternoon score, which had a prize fund of €12,500 a side.

David Sugrue said he heard Wayne Kingston, the son of Samuel Kingston, saying slanderous things about his player. He claimed Wayne was roaring comments ‘at the top of his head’ so he approached him and told him that his remarks were uncalled for.

It was at that stage, he alleged that the two men grabbed him. He said Sam Kingston headbutted him in the face, while Tadhg O’Driscoll hit him ‘a wallop’ into the mouth.

‘They beat me down into the dyke,’ said David Sugrue, who admitted he was taking a civil action against the two men for damage to his teeth and head pains that he had initially thought related to a pre-existing sinus complaint.

Flor Murphy, the solicitor for Samuel Kingston, and Colette McCarthy, the solicitor for Tadhg O’Driscoll, questioned the accused in cross-examination. They asked why he had not mentioned the assault when he visited his doctor two days later on the 22nd.

David Sugrue, who was legally represented by Liam O’Donovan, said he complained about his sinuses because he thought that was the problem. When the pain didn’t go away, he said he went to SouthDoc on March 27th and was sent to Cork University Hospital.

He said he didn’t stay because it was ‘packed during Covid’ and subsequently went to his own GP and dentist.

The solicitors put it to David Sugrue that he was well enough to be listed among the winners of a score on the weekend of March 26th and 27th, 2022, but he denied having played that score.

He also rejected submissions made by Flor Murphy that he had made the allegation as ‘a ruse to extract money’ and was, as the solicitor suggested, ‘hoping to make a killing out of this’.

Kieran Gould corroborated the evidence given by David Sugrue. He said he saw that Samuel Kingston and Tadhg O’Driscoll ‘had David up against the ditch’.

He said the two men were throwing punches and that David Sugrue was ‘dazed’ when he spoke to him after the incident.

Despite there being a livestream of the score on Facebook, the incident was not filmed, but Kieran Gould insisted: ‘That man was assaulted.’

Another witness, William Cronin, said he saw David Sugrue remonstrating with Wayne Kingston saying, ‘Take that back.’ He said this was followed by ‘a bit of a scuffle’ in which saw the two men push David Sugrue into the ditch. In his evidence, William Cronin said roaring and shouting is the norm at most scores. ‘It could get nasty verbally,’ he added.

Wayne Kingston, the son of Samuel Kingston, also gave evidence that ‘cheering and jeering’ is part of most bowling events.

Wayne, who told the judge he was the manager of a development company and a tax accountant, admitted making remarks about Martin Coppinger, but he said it was David Sugrue, and two others, who charged at him.

At the close of the hearing, Wayne Kingston produced video evidence, which he claimed supported his allegation. The footage was viewed by the judge, the solicitors, and the defendants.

Wayne Kingston said the incident involving his father, Tadhg O’Driscoll, and David Sugrue was ‘a tussle across the road and they all ended up in the ditch’.

In evidence in his own defence, Samuel Kingston said he saw David Sugrue’s hands around Wayne’s throat. He also alleged Sugrue came at him in an aggressive manner.

‘He grabbed me and we fell into the ditch,’ he said. He said Tadgh O’Driscoll wasn’t in the ditch but had extended a hand to help him out of it. ‘There were no blows. It was propulsion. Handbags,’ said the accused.

Tadgh O’Driscoll’s evidence also contradicted the account given by David Sugrue. He said Sugrue had his hands on Wayne’s shirt, at the throat. Nathan Kingston, another brother, was trying to push David Sugrue away, he said.

O’Driscoll claimed the incident with Samuel Kingston was a clash. ‘They went across the road into the ditch. They bumped off of me and I put up my hand to push the two of them away,’ he said.

Judge James McNulty said he found William Cronin’s evidence of there being ‘a flurry of activity’ to be honest, but he found David Sugrue’s evidence ‘less than convincing’.He said he was inconsistent, too, in his evidence against Tadhg O’Driscoll.

He said the footage produced by Wayne Kingston showed a physical altercation which contradicted David Sugrue’s account.

‘Mr Sugrue is not a reliable witness and has a vested interest because he is suing the co-accused. It would be unsafe to convict Samuel Kingston or Tadgh O’Driscoll on the evidence of an unreliable witness,’ said the judge.

Judge McNulty dismissed the charges against Kingston and O’Driscoll and convicted Sugrue of the public order offence.

Insp Ian O’Callaghan told the court David Sugrue has 23 previous convictions. He also stated that one previous fine of €500 has not been paid.

Judge McNulty adjourned the case to the March 12th sitting of Skibbereen District Court. At that court, the judge imposed a €500 fine on the accused for the public order offence. Liam O’Donovan, solicitor, asked for recognisances to be fixed for an appeal.

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