Tuesday 21 November 2017

Dublin star Diarmuid Connolly to be sentenced in the New Year for unprovoked attack

Diarmuid Connolly leaving Dublin District Court earlier this month
Diarmuid Connolly leaving Dublin District Court earlier this month

Tom Tuite

DUBLIN football star Diarmuid Connolly will be sentenced in the new year for an unprovoked attack on a man who suffered a fractured eye-socket.

Connolly (25) had pleaded guilty earlier to assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly at McGowan's public house in Phibsboro, in Dublin, in the early hours of August 6 last year.

An unreserved apology, which was accepted by Mr Kelly, had been issued by Connolly's lawyer last May during a hearing at Dublin District Court.

Mr Kelly had also shook hands with Connolly following that hearing but had refused to accept compensation from him. Instead the footballer paid €5,000 to Barnardos children's charity and the Rape Crisis Centre.

The case was listed again today, but Judge Michael Walsh heard that Connolly had been excused from having to attend. Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said a date needed to be set for the case to go before Judge Patrick Clyne who had heard the evidence earlier this year. The footballer star is to face his sentence hearing on January 29 next.

Earlier, the All-Ireland winning forward's lawyer had told the court that Connolly “apologises unreservedly to Mr Kelly”.

Connolly, who also plays for north Dublin club St Vincent's, has no prior criminal convictions, and his offence carries a possible sentence of up to one year.

In an outline of the prosecution's evidence given earlier, the court had been told that the attack happened at 3.40 a.m. in McGowan's pub.

“It is alleged that the injured party was socialising with a friend, it would be alleged that the accused assaulted him in an unprovoked attack,” Judge Patrick Clyne has heard.

Connolly, who has an address at Collins Park, Beaumont, north Dublin, “punched him in the face”. Mr Kelly, who is in his thirties, was knocked down and Connolly then “continued to punch him on the ground”.

Mr Kelly suffered a fractured eye socket during the attack, but has recovered, the district court has heard.

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