A convicted sex offender involved in an “ugly” street fight in which he was struck with a wheel brace has walked free from court after being handed a suspended prison sentence.
Alan Kiernan (58), of Larkhill Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9, pleaded guilty to affray in Rathmines on March 17th, 2019.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that gardaí were on mobile patrol on the evening of St Patrick's Day, when they noticed Kiernan on the road outside the women's refuge with blood on his head.
Another man was standing nearby threateningly, holding a wheel brace. Gardaí shouted at the man to drop the wheel brace, which he did.
CCTV of the incident was played in court. The co-accused, using a wheelchair, met a female outside the refuge. This man then got out of the wheelchair and struck the woman, who fell to the ground.
A car pulled up, the woman got into it and Kiernan subsequently got out of the car and became involved in a scuffle with the co-accused.
The defendant left the scene, but returned and attacked the co-accused with a wheel brace. The other man overpowered Kiernan then struck him numerous times with the wheel brace.
Break up the fight
A member of the public attempted to intervene to help the woman and to break up the fight. Gardai confirmed that the three parties were known to each other, but were unable to say the nature of their relationship.
Kiernan was arrested in relation to this incident in January 2020 and exercised his right to silence during interview. Kiernan has 12 previous convictions, including two for harassment and stalking and two for sexual offences.
The investigating garda agreed with Conor McKenna BL, defending, that the woman got in Kiernan's car when he arrived at the scene and it appeared that his client left the car in light of what he had been told.
The investigating garda accepted the co-accused was a bigger man, who knocked Kiernan to the ground during the scuffle, before taking the wheel brace, which he used to strike Kiernan around 20 times.
Mr McKenna said this was a “very ugly incident” which took place on a busy road, and it would have been scary for people in the vicinity to see two men “thrashing” around.
Defence counsel said it could be inferred that his client left his car after the woman had told him what was happening, but Kiernan should have driven from the area instead of returning.
He noted there was a disparity in the level of violence between the two men and that his client had “come off worse” in the incident.
Token of remorse
Mr McKenna asked Judge Crowe to take into consideration that his client's last serious conviction dates back to 2010 while the other is from 1997.
Kiernan has a history of work and is trying to get back into employment. A letter was handed into the court from an employment service. Kiernan had also brought €1,000 to court as a token of remorse.
The court was told that the co-accused was handed a 15-month suspended sentence.
Judge Orla Crowe said this was an “unusual” case as the entire incident was captured on CCTV. She said Kiernan should have driven away and this would have been the end of the matter.
Judge Crowe said the co-accused was the primary aggressor, but Kiernan had returned to the scene with a wheel brace.
She said the mitigating factors include Kiernan's guilty plea, his token of remorse and that the co-accused had been violent towards the defendant and the woman.
She said Kiernan had “made a serious misjudgment” on that night, but the court wished to give him a chance. She handed him an 18-month sentence suspended for four years on strict conditions.
Judge Crowe directed that the €1,000 should be donated to the women's refuge.