Wednesday 19 December 2018

Kerry football star avoids prison after biting garda in drunk spree

Headbutt: Kerry GAA star Kevin McCarthy injured two gardaí and a security guard. Photo: Sportsfile
Headbutt: Kerry GAA star Kevin McCarthy injured two gardaí and a security guard. Photo: Sportsfile

Sinead Kelleher

A Kerry footballer has been convicted of three assaults, two of them on gardaí, after becoming "violent and aggressive" following a day out at a Munster rugby match.

Tralee District Court heard Kevin McCarthy, of Gortnatona, Kilcummin, attended the Munster game in Thomond Park on St Stephen's Day.

He drank a "voluminous" amount of alcohol on the way to the match, during that day and afterwards. The day ended with McCarthy in Castleisland town, where he sat into the back of a car of a person he didn't know and sought a lift.

Garda Ronan Coleman was alerted, spoke to McCarthy, and found him "highly intoxicated". McCarthy became very aggressive and abusive, and Gda Coleman was forced to pepper spray him.

Two security guards came to Gda Coleman's aid. One of these, Robert Zybura, was injured during the incident.

The court heard that McCarthy headbutted and bit Mr Zybura and also tried to kick him in the groin.

McCarthy was charged with the assault of Mr Zybura at Main Street, Castleisland, on December 26, 2017.

He became aggressive after he was handcuffed and placed in the patrol car. During a struggle in the car, he injured another garda, Garda Michael Dalton, who suffered a soft- tissue injury to his wrist and was unable to work for more than two months. McCarthy was charged with assault causing harm to Gda Dalton.

Gda Coleman was also injured by McCarthy, who "bit him on the right hand, and left teeth-marks". McCarthy was charged with the assault of Gda Coleman.

Defence solicitor Padraig O'Connell told the court that his client, who is 24, was interviewed by a Gda O'Mahony just a few days later without a solicitor.

During this interview, he told Gda O'Mahony that he could not recall anything that had happened in Castleisland on the night in question.

He could not recall being in the patrol car or being handcuffed.

The court heard that McCarthy had not eaten on the day in question and that he had drank three or four cans of Carlsberg on the bus; five or six brandy and Baileys; and vodka and Red Bull.

Mr O'Connell said his client had never been in trouble with the law and was known for his sporting prowess.

Testimonials were handed in to court, including from Kilcummin GAA club, the Kerry County Board, and a former Killarney town councillor, Niall 'Botty' O'Callaghan.

The court was told McCarthy had paid €5,000 as compensation to court and was extremely apologetic.

Judge David Waters said that the "only thing keeping him from a custodial sentence is that he has no previous convictions".

He said that alcohol was not a defence and that McCarthy was "completely out of control" and "violent".

Judge Waters convicted Mr McCarthy for all three assaults and fined him a total of €1,400.

Irish Independent

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