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Auctioneer avoids jail after attack on bidder

AN AUCTIONEER has been ordered to do 80 hours' community service and pay €500 compensation after he beat up a man who accused him of bringing down the hammer on an auction too quickly.

Declan Robinson beat up Paul Hegarty after a row about an auction at a mart in Co Donegal last year.

Robinson (28), of Larganreagh, Downings, Co Donegal, met Mr Hegarty on a night out some days after the auction at Bonagee Mart in April 2010.

Mr Hegarty approached Robinson and a row ensued, which resulted in Robinson giving Mr Hegarty a severe beating.

CCTV footage later showed how Robinson had struck Mr Hegarty up to 40 times, including a giving him a number of kicks to the head.

A hospital report later showed that the victim had a swollen skull, two black eyes, a broken tooth and a number of lacerations to his face.

Solicitor for the accused, Carrie Hegarty, said that the attack was the result of an earlier altercation at Bonagee Mart.

She revealed Mr Hegarty had accused his attacker of bringing down the auctioneer's hammer on the sale of three sheep, before he could bid on them.

She also revealed how the hammer had been snatched out of Robinson's hand during another auction.

She said her client had never been in trouble before and that had done extensive work for charity in his role as an auctioneer and on one occasion he raised €60,000 for charity during a 'crazy auction'.

She said that shortly after the attack, Robinson, a father of one, had left Bonagee Mart where he had been employed and was now jobless.

She added that her client had tried to avoid the victim, Mr Hegarty, when he approached him again on the night in question, but there had been a lot of drink taken.

At Letterkenny District Court, Judge Paul Kelly said this was a violent assault considering the amount of punches thrown.

"Irrespective of the provocation, there was a lot to this. He punched him between 30 and 40 times," he said.


Solicitor for Mr Hegarty, Kieran O'Gorman, said his client was still suffering as a result of the attack.

A probation report ordered by the judge showed that Robinson was a good candidate for community service and that he had not been in trouble with the law before or after the attack on Mr Hegarty.

"He is an upstanding citizen and is very sorry for what happened," said defence counsel.

"He has never been in trouble apart from this."

The judge said he acknowledged that Mr Hegarty was still suffering as a result of the attack, but said he had previously indicated that he would apply a community service order and order €500 in compensation to be paid to Mr Hegarty.

He applied the order of 80 hours' community service in lieu of four months in prison.

Irish Independent