Sunday 18 March 2018

Gardai step in to quell violent courtroom fight

Kathryn Hayes

THERE were dramatic scenes in a busy courthouse yesterday when a fight broke out between two men in front of a judge.

The drama unfolded at Limerick District Court when two men became involved in a row.

The violence erupted shortly before 11.30am, forcing Judge Eugene O'Kelly to rise from the bench for almost 15 minutes.

Around six gardai had to intervene when the two men, both aged in their early 20s, started arguing at the back of the packed courtroom.

At one point, the pair were standing face-to-face in the public gallery and one of the men was punched in the face during the incident. He was told to calm down and removed from the courtroom, while the second man was immediately taken into custody and placed in the court cells.

He was due up before the court on a separate charge of causing criminal damage to a Garda vehicle.

Judge O'Kelly said it was "outrageous" that the man had "disrupted the court in such a violent way".

Judge O'Kelly said he was not willing to deal with the other case as he had witnessed what had happened in the courtroom.

"I don't want there to be any suggestion of prejudice, I'm not going to sentence him, I'm going to let another judge deal with the matter," he told solicitor Sarah Ryan.

The judge said the outbreak of violence was not acceptable and that he would not tolerate such behaviour in the courtroom. Later, he said it was understandable if some members of the public were panicked given the "carry-on".

Irish Independent

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