TWO rugby players from an elite private school have avoided jail for their part in a mass brawl in south Dublin that left a youth with a broken leg.
Scott Flood-Wiley (21) and Evan Lewis (22) were instead ordered to keep the peace for two years today for taking part in the melee.
They had been out celebrating their school, Clongowes Wood College, winning the Leinster Schools Cup when they joined in a fight involving around 20 men.
Today, Judge Carmel Stewart put the defendants on bonds to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. She said that they would also bear formal convictions on their records for the rest of their lives.
The court heard gardai had been able to identify the defendants by going through the prestigious school's yearbook and finding their pictures.
Flood-Wiley, of Adelaide Street, Dun Laoghaire, and Lewis of Coppinger Close, Stillorgan but originally from Ennis in Clare, had pleaded guilty to affray in relation to the punch-up on the Lower Rathmines Road on March 20, 2011.
The young man who was injured in the brawl, Graham Bennett, was among a group who clashed with the Clongowes students outside a chipper. It was accepted by the prosecution that neither accused had anything to do with the injury.
"Unfortunately, these type of offences are all too common on our streets late at night", Judge Stewart said.
The judge remarked that there was "considerable ambiguity as to who did what" in the incident.
In Flood-Wiley's case, she said his three previous convictions for different offences were not of "any huge importance".
She noted that both accused had expressed remorse for the affray and testimonials were presented to the court, including a reference from their headmaster.
Lewis had no prior convictions and also had character references from a retired garda sergeant and an army commandant.
The judge put them on peace bonds in the sum of €500.
"You have put yourselves and your families through a terrible ordeal", she added, advising the accused to take the opportunity the court was giving them.
"Thanks, your honour", they both replied.
Previously, Garda Mary Brophy told prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacy BL that a large number of current and former Clongowes students were in Tramco nightclub in Rathmines celebrating the school’s win on the night.
Another group of youths including Graham Bennett and Ryan Hatfield were also there celebrating a 21st birthday.
Mr Hatfield got in a verbal row with some Clongowes students in the smoking area before his group left the club and went to a chip shop. They again ran into the students, who shouted abuse at them. Mr Hatfield’s group walked on until he “felt a dig in his right ear”, then a fight broke out.
Mr Bennett fell in the struggle and was unable to stand up, hearing a popping sound when he tried. In hospital he was found to have a fractured leg.
Flood-Wiley and Lewis’s defence counsel said their clients had nothing to do with the injury, and this was accepted by the prosecution.
Gardai were able to identify some of those involved by consulting the Clongowes yearbook and six months later, Flood Wiley and Lewis were arrested.
Flood-Wiley said in interview he may have punched someone, but denied kicking or stamping on anyone. Lewis claimed he got a slap as he left the club and then pushed another man who was attacking his friend.
Flood-Wiley had three previous convictions for theft, drug possession and a road traffic matter. Lewis had none.
Counsel for Flood-Wiley, Michael Bowman BL, said his client got involved “out of misplaced loyalty”. Breffni Gordon BL, for Lewis, said his client hoped to go into law, but that this conviction would trip him up at “every stage of his life”.