Saturday 25 October 2014

Pubgoer loses eye after vase thrown during brawl

Andrew Phelan

Published 12/02/2014 | 12:39

A PUBGOER lost his eye when he was struck by a shard of glass from a vase thrown during a brawl at a 30th birthday party in a north Dublin pub.

A court has heard the victim was not part of the group but was sitting nearby with his partner when violence broke out because the partygoers were asked to leave.

Seamus Gaughan suffered injuries which resulted in the loss of his eye, and has now died from an unrelated illness, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Then woman celebrating her birthday Claire Darby (33), and a friend Eamonn Burke (46)  both admitted taking part in the melee.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring ajourned sentencing in their case, asking for a restorative justice programme report.

The court heard it was accepted by the prosecution that the injuries suffered were the "unintended consquences" of what happened.

Darby, a mother-of-three and Burke, a father-of-five, both with addresses at Primrose Grove, Darndale, pleaded guilty to charges of violent disorder at the Kinsealy Inn pub on December 3 2010.

The court heard when their group arrived on the night, staff saw that some people were bringing in their own drinks and others were  going up to the bar and ordering glasses of ice.

The floor manager Martin Butterly warned the partygoers that they would be asked to leave if this did not stop. There were also concerns expressed about the group in general.

After 10pm, they were asked to leave and people came forward to remonstrate with staff but Mr Butterly would not change his mind.

Things then took "a nastier turn" and Darby threw down her birthday cake when it was given to her. Objects were then thrown by members of the group in a "random and haphazard way" through the bar. This included beer bottles, pint glasses and flower vases.

Someone else picked up a stool, threw it and it bounced up and hit somebody else. This went on for a few minutes and the group eventually left.

Darby could be seen shouting, she was taken outside and things calmed down.

CCTV showed members of the public sitting, watching what was going on and moving to avoid objects.

Seamus Gaughan and his partner Toni Hogan were in the pub when a ceramic vase was thrown, hitting a pillar and exploding in shards of glass. One of the shards hit Mr Gaughan in the eye.

As a consequence, he lost his eye.

The court heard Mr Gaughan has since passed away from an illness.

Darby was readily identifiable because she had a 30th birthday badge on she was "identified as being the birthday girl".

Burke was identified by tattoos he had.

Darby was a single mother and had nine previous convictions for offences including handling stolen property and uninsured driving.

Burke's 41 prior convictions included criminal damage, theft and motoring offences. Neither had previous convictions for violent offences.

Garnet Orange BL, for the prosecution, said it was accepted that the injuries sustained by Mr Gaughan were the unintended consequences of the actions of the accused.

Burke had a history of drug addiction and was on a long-term methadone maintenance programme, his barrister said.

The court heard there were other people involved in the incident who had gone to trial, but the proceedings were aborted and the prosecution was withdrawn.

Burke had "named certain people" in the locality and some threats were made against him as a result.

Darby had "considerable remorse, shame and regret over her behaviour on the night of her 30th birthday", her barrister said.

"This was a night of some importance for her, she acted badly and her behaviour is not something that she is proud of", her barrister said. "This was a case where nobody set out on that night that they would cause trouble or end up arrested. This was an unplanned event with unintended consequences".

She was a lone parent and her children were entirely her responsibility.

Darby had worked in factories and a sewing shop and she was involved in handing out lunches at her local school. Her son had a scholarship to attend a singing and dancing school in Dublin and her daughter was due to make her First Communion.

Burke also had "considerable remorse" and the incident was out of character for him, his barrister said.

"People supposedly celebrating what should be a happy event lost the run of themselves in a public place", Judge Ring said. This had turned into a brawl and people threw bottles and glasses around "without any regard for anyone in the pub".

"While the consequences were unintended, when you start flinging items around... there are likely to be consequences", the judge said.

The case was adjourned to a date in June.

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