Sunday 18 August 2019

Professional Irish boxer accused of involvement in 'violent' street brawl after father's funeral

'To forbid him from travelling would ultimately end his career,' court hears

Jamie Kavanagh
Jamie Kavanagh
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A PROFESSIONAL Irish boxer has been accused of getting involved in a street brawl in Dublin city centre following his father's funeral.

Jamie Kavanagh (25) was allegedly among a group of people who were refused entry to a nightclub when the row happened.

He was refused bail when he appeared in court today charged with violent disorder in the incident last year.

Judge Michael Walsh remanded him in custody until Thursday after gardai objected to bail.

Jamie Kavanagh, a father-of-one with an address at Mourne Road, Drimnagh, is charged with violent disorder at Harcourt Street on September 23, 2014.

Garda Niall Murray told Dublin District Court the accused was living in the UK and had returned to Ireland for an event in the National Stadium on Saturday.

He arrested Mr Kavanagh at Dublin Airport yesterday at 6.40pm and brought him to Pearse Street Garda Station, where he was charged at 8.31pm.

He made no reply to the charge after caution.

Garda Murray said the DPP was directing trial on indictment. This means it will be sent to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when a book of evidence is ready.

Objecting to bail, Garda Murray cited as grounds the seriousness of the alleged offence, which has a potential sentence on conviction of up to 10 years imprisonment, the strength of the proposed evidence and his belief that Mr Kavanagh is a flight risk.

He said the evidence in the case was “very strong” and CCTV evidence of the incident was “very clear.”

He told the court the accused was “clearly identifiable.”

Outlining the allegations, he said a number of people went to Harcourt Street following Mr Kavanagh’s father’s funeral.

They were refused entry to one nightclub before going to the Jackson Court Hotel, where they were also refused.

Shortly after that there was a “very large fight” with six to seven people that Mr Kavanagh allegedly got involved in.

The fight involved the door staff, Garda Murray said.

It was a brief, 20-second fight but it was “quite violent”, and while the accused “wasn’t the person who started it”, he very soon got involved, the garda alleged.

He told the court Mr Kavanagh lived in the UK and had fought in 22 professional fights around the world, including the USA and Mexico.

His promoter was “quite famous” and was based in America.

Mr Kavanagh was not arrested on the night of the incident.

Garda Murray said he had spoken to his co-accused and asked them to ask him to contact the gardai.

In March this year, Mr Kavanagh was back in Ireland for his uncle’s funeral and Garda Murray called to the accused’s grandmother Mary’s house.

His deceased uncle had previously been arrested in connection with the same fight.

Garda Murray said he tried to be “as tactful as possible” because Mr Kavanagh's grandmother was in mourning, left his calling card and asked for the accused to be given a message to call him.

“We never received any contact back from Mr Kavanagh,” he said.

“He was arrested yesterday at the airport - it was no surprise to him when I met him, he was fully aware of the incident,” Garda Murray said.

“He has completely and utterly avoided the guards at every hand’s turn.”

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Lorraine Stephens said Mr Kavanagh had no previous convictions and enjoys a presumption of innocence.

She said the accused had never had any direct contact from the gardai and would have made arrangements to meet them if he had known they wanted to charge him.

He never received the message left with his grandmother, who had just lost her son and was laid out in the house at the time.  She did not recall speaking to the garda, Ms Stephens said.

Mr Kavanagh would live at his grandmother’s address if granted bail but would need his passport to leave the country to work while the case is before the courts.

“To forbid him from travelling would ultimately end his career,” Ms Stephens said. “It is not an age-friendly sport. It’s not the case that he can take a break for two years.”

He wished to “vindicate his good name.”

Refusing bail, Judge Walsh said the court was primarily concerned that the accused did not respond at all to messages left by the gardai, particularly “his abject failure to respond to the message which was left at the residence of his grandmother.”

The accused, wearing a grey sweater, blue jeans and with a plaster on his right eyebrow, did not address the court during the hearing.

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