The hearing of an appeal by two sons of Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae against a conviction for assault will come before the Circuit Criminal Court in Kerry on March 30.
Cllr Jackie Healy and his younger brother Kevin, both received suspended sentences for assault causing harm to English visitor Kieran James last December.
The case came before the Circuit Court sitting in Killarney Today, Thursday February 6 in front of Judge James O'Donohoe. He adjourned the case to a call-over of court cases on March 30. A date will be set to hear the appeal on this date. Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae and Kevin Healy-Rae attended the court as did a friend and co-excused, Malachy Scannell. All three are appealing the conviction and the sentences imposed on them.
The Circuit Court heard that one of the witnesses, Lauren James, is in an 'advanced stage of pregnancy' and is unable to attend to give evidence. She is the wife of the victim, Kieran James, who was assaulted by Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae. Both live in London.
State Solictior Edward O'Sullivan said that a letter had been sent from Ms James' doctor. However, Judge O'Donohoe, noted this did not say she could not attend. However, he accepted the case could not go ahead given the report handed to the court.
Judge O'Donohoe said it was best that the case was not fragmented. Sgt Adrian Brennan said that the case has to be heard in Tralee Court to allow CCTV to be viewed. The appeal hearing will take two days, the court was told.
Defence solictor Padraig O'Connell consented to the application, the court heard. A request was made that for the three involved to be excused from attendance on March 30.
Judge O’Donohoe warned that the case must be ready to go ahead when a date is fixed.
Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae, of Sandymount, Kilgarvan,was given an eight-month suspended sentence in December for assault causing harm to an English visitor to Kenmare during Christmas festivities two years ago.
Jackie Healy-Rae (24), who was elected to the council earlier this year and who is a member of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), was described by Judge David Waters as the ‘enforcer’ in the argument when the case came before the District Court.
Judge Waters said that Jackie Healy-Rae instead of going home on the night in question and staying out of trouble got involved in the fracas which began over queue jumping at chip van in the town.
His brother Kevin Healy-Rae (22), who was the first person involved in the row and who sought his brother’s assistance, was given a seven-month suspended sentence.
A co-accused of the two brothers, Malachy Scannell (34) received two six month suspended sentences for assault causing harm charges on the night on the question.
In sentencing the three men, Judge David Waters, said that an aggravating factor in the case was that the group maintained in garda statements and in cross-examination during the trial a version of events that was not borne out in the CCTV which was shown to the court.
Judge Waters said that the version of events given by the three of them was ‘contradicted’ by CCTV.
The court has previously heard that the incident broke out at a chip van in East Park Lane in Kenmare on the night of December 28, 2017 and that three of the men then followed the victim, Mr James, up the street.
Jackie and Kevin Healy-Rae were both charged with assault causing harm to Mr James, who was visiting Kenmare. His family have links to the area.
Jackie was charged with assault causing harm to Mr James on two occasions on the night December 28, 2017 – at East Park Lane and Main Street, Kenmare.
Kevin Healy-Rae was charged with one charge of assault causing harm to Mr James and Malachy Scannell, with an address at Inchinacoosh, Kilgarvan, was charged with assault causing harm to Mr James and to another man, Cornelius ‘Neily’ O’Sullivan.
He also faced a criminal damage charge.
Judge Waters said he found the victim Mr James, to be "an extremely credible witness" who had "no axe to grind" with the brothers and their friend.
The evidence against the brothers and their friend was, he said, "quite compelling."
Mr James, who was in Kenmare visiting Irish cousins, said he was attacked twice in the space of a few minutes by the two brothers after his wife had commented on Kevin Healy-Rae barging to the top of a queue at a chip van in Kenmare square.
Mr James said the assault - which left him with serious facial injuries including a broken nose - was entirely unprovoked.