Three teachers among five to be sentenced for Dublin pub brawl

By Tom Tuite

A judge is to examine CCTV evidence before sentencing three teachers and two other men over a late night brawl in a busy Dublin pub.

Four of the accused who have Dublin addresses and the fifth, from Co. Kildare, had pleaded guilty to taking part in violent disorder after a row broke out at McGowan’s pub in Phibsborough on July 14, 2017.

Teachers Michael Davitt, 34 from Clanmaurice Road Donnycarney, Conor Shannon, 33, from Glendale Estate, Leixlip, Co. Kildare and Seamus O Cearra, 34, from Mount Symon Green, Clonsilla, appeared at Dublin District Court over the punch-up which involved 10 people.

Stephen Cantwell, 28, from Collins Avenue and David McSweeney, 31, from McKee Avenue, Finglas also appeared before the same court in connection with the incident.

Mr McSweeney faced an additional charge for producing a glass as a weapon during a dispute.

They had pleaded guilty in July and the case was adjourned for references to be handed in to court.

Judge Brian O’Shea was furnished with the documentation today but he said he would not be satisfied to adjudicate on sentencing without viewing the video evidence which was not in court.

In addition to the CCTV footage, he asked gardaí to provide a statement outlining the roles of each defendant, “so I can identify people by what they are wearing".

He said: “The main thing I am looking for is something to identify what I’m looking at”.

The judge had enquired if the teachers would prefer if the case were adjourned until a date in a mid-term break but their solicitor Michael Hanahoe said it would not be necessary.

“No, they’re making themselves available whatever date,” he said. Sentencing was adjourned until September 20.

All five remain on bail.

Judge Brian O’Shea has heard the two groups of defendants were on opposing sides during the row.

They stood at opposite sides of the courtroom during the hearing.

In an outline of the allegations, the court heard the incident occurred at 2.40am and up 10 people got into a row which continued even after staff tried to separate them.

The fight continued for a while but was finished by the time gardaí arrived.

Judge O’Shea heard Stephen Cantwell was observed hitting another male from behind – after he had been punched by that man earlier in the row.

The court was told Michael Davitt was also in the melee and had thrown a number of punches “but not at anyone in particular”.

He also suffered a bloody nose after receiving a blow to the face, the court heard.

David McSweeney was also seen fighting and threw a glass which hit Seamus O Cearra who was injured and suffered a cut to his forehead.

O’Cearra was also kicked, however, he was also observed punching one man in the face knocking him to the floor.

Judge O’Shea heard Conor Shannon was knocked down during the fight but he was seen throwing punches, “but was not observed assaulting any person in particular”.

Stephen O’Mahony, the solicitor representing Cantwell and McSweeney, said the issue of compensation for the injury caused by McSweeney would have to be addressed.

Shannon had one prior conviction for a minor assault for which he was bound to the peace in 2012.

Cantwell had convictions for public order, assault and drug possession offences.

McSweeney had prior convictions for public order and road traffic offences, the court was told.

At the previous hearing in July, the judge had said violent disorder was at the top end of a range of offences and recorded convictions could have “dire consequences”.

He also noted that no damage was caused to the pub and just bottles and glasses had to be cleaned up afterwards. None of the staff were injured, the court heard.

Another man was previously dealt with by a different judge at the district court for being involved in the incident. He had his case struck out and was spared a conviction after he pleaded guilty and agreed to a €400 court poor box donation.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had directed their cases should only be retained by the district court if they pleaded guilty, otherwise, they would have faced trial in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

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