Tuesday 26 September 2017

Binge-drinking army men got in violent fight

Andrew Gilmore (left) and Michael Kearney leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier today
Andrew Gilmore (left) and Michael Kearney leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier today

Declan Brennan

TWO members of the Irish Defence Forces face being discharged from the army for taking part in a violent fight after a “night of binge drinking” in a city centre night club.

Andrew Gilmore (25) and Michael Kearney (30) will be sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Friday after Judge Martin Nolan indicated that he is considering a “deferred sentence” provision which would leave the army free to impose a sanction other than dismissing the soldiers.

Gilmore of Gormanstown Army Barracks, Co Meath and Kearney of Carlton Crescent, Strabane, Tyrone, Northern Ireland pleaded guilty to violent disorder at Central Bank Plaza, Dublin on February 9, 2012.

They were also charged with assault causing harm but these charges were not pursued by the State after the other pleas were entered.

Both counsel outlined that a prison sentence, a suspended sentence or a fine of more than €800 would result in automatic dismissal from the defence forces.

Judge Nolan noted that a deferred sentence could be imposed whereby a potential sentence is set aside so long as the accused continues to comply with conditions laid down by the court.

He adjourned sentencing to tomorrow to consider the matter.

Garda Frank Johnson told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that the two men had been celebrating in Madonna's Nightclub and left the venue after 3am.

A row broke out between them and another two men and a woman.

Gilmore punched the first victim, Patrick Byrne, who was knocked unconscious. Gilmore also assaulted the man's friends, Thomas Roantree and the woman.

Garda Johnson said that another man, who disappeared after gardai arrived, received blows to the head and body and that Mr Roantree was kicked while he was on the ground.

He said CCTV footage showed Kearney kicking someone on the ground once.

Gilmore tried to run from gardai but was arrested that night and Kearney went to gardai the following night. Both men admitted their parts in the fight and entered early guilty pleas. All of the victims have recovered from their injuries.

Neither accused have any other convictions and neither have come to the attention of gardai since.

Gda Johnson described the incident as a “night of binge drinking that went wrong”.

Michael Bowman BL, defending Gilmore, said his client came from a solid decent family and was ashamed of his actions on the night.

He said he had no alcohol difficulties although alcohol had played a part in this incident. A number of character references outlined Gilmore's active contribution to the community.

Michael Vallely BL, defending Kearney, said his client is a married father of one with six years service in the defence forces.

He has served in Kosovo |and has been ranked as a|potential non-commissioned officer.

“The army is his life”, counsel told the court. He added that he is involved in training underage hurling clubs in Tyrone.

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