News Courts

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Brawling 'birthday girl' avoids jail after man loses his eye

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Jessica Magee

Published 27/06/2014 | 02:30

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Claire Darby at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday
Claire Darby at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday
Claire Darby outside Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. Photo: Collins

TWO friends who admitted taking part in a pub brawl, which ended in a man losing his eye, have avoided going to jail.

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Claire Darby (33) and Eamonn Burke (46) each got a four-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for their role in the fracas, which took place during Darby's birthday party.

The pair, who have addresses at Primrose Grove, Darndale, pleaded guilty to violent disorder at the Kinsealy Inn, Malahide, on December 3, 2010.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring accepted that they had shown remorse and taken responsibility for their actions. But she warned that if she saw them within the next four years, they would serve the full sentence.

Darby had been celebrating her 30th birthday with guests, including Burke, when the manager asked the party to leave because he suspected they had been smuggling in their own alcohol. Detective Garda Donal O'Connell revealed that Darby threw her birthday cake on to the floor in response.

She then joined in the "general melee" during which objects were flung around the bar including beer bottles, glasses and flower vases.

Death

A glass shard from a vase that shattered on a pillar went into the face of one of the patrons, Seamus Gaughan, causing him to lose his eye. The court heard that Mr Gaughan died last year, but his death was unrelated to the loss of his eye.

Det Gda O'Connell agreed with Bernard Condon SC, defending Darby, that Mr Gaughan's injury was an "unintended consequence" of the actions of his client and her co-accused.

Darby and Burke were ordered to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for four years and to undergo supervision by the probation services for the next 18 months.

Irish Independent

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