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Jail for men who beat up victim in pie-eating row

TWO men who viciously assaulted an innocent man over a comment made about a pie-eating contest have each received 12-month sentences at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Michael Dunphy (21) of Windmill Road, Crumlin, and Declan Nolan (20) of St Teresa's Gardens, Donore Avenue, both pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Dean Fox on June 28, 2006 at Murrays Bar, Bow Bridge, Dublin 8.

Their co-accused, Claire Dunphy (23), also of Windmill Road, the woman at whom the comment was directed, will be sentenced later in the year.

The victim was drinking in a Kilmainham pub when the woman's brother headbutted him.



Bottle

When he went into the bathroom the woman's partner asked him if he was okay, before punching him in the back of the head then kicking him while on the ground.

As the victim was helped out of the bathroom the woman hit him in the head with a glass bottle, knocking him unconscious.

The court heard the group had been at the pub for a family Christening and earlier in the day Claire Dunphy had won a pie-eating contest.

Immediately prior to the assault someone present had made a comment about this, but it was not clear who.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said that the court noted a submission from Michael Dunphy's mother, outlining his remorse.

It said that Dunphy, who has 24 previous convictions, had led a quieter life since the incident.

However, the judge said she wished to disable any notion the men had that the offences were somehow lessened because they were committed under the influence of alcohol.

In jailing both Dunphy and Nolan for 12 months, Judge Delahunt said she did not see any evidence of any sincere efforts by the men to address their alcohol problems.

Garda Eoin Cooper told Caroline Cummings, prosecuting, that Mr Fox was in the smoking area when an extremely drunk Michael Dunphy came out and asked him for a cigarette.

Someone else made a comment which Dunphy laughed at before he headbutted Mr Fox in the nose. He continued to hit him until the victim pushed him away and went to the bathroom as his nose was bleeding. As he was leaning over the sink, Nolan came in and asked him what was wrong. The victim responded that he had been beaten up. Nolan then punched him in the back of the head.

While Mr Fox was on the ground Nolan, who has 16 previous convictions, kicked him in the stomach before the victim's brother entered and held him off. As Mr Fox was being helped out of the bathroom by his brother, Claire Dunphy hit him with a glass bottle and then smashed it on the ground.



Abusive

Mr Fox was knocked out and only remembers waking up on the pub floor. Gardai arrived and arrested Michael Dunphy who was extremely abusive.

The other two were arrested shortly after. Michael Dunphy said he did not remember why he hit the victim, "but would love to know." Both Claire Dunphy and Nolan claimed they were acting in self-defence.

Defence counsel for Michael Dunphy, Sandra Frayne, said he was extremely drunk on the night and has an alcohol problem. She said he had a baby girl the week before the incident and had settled down since.

Michael Bowman, defending Nolan, said he also had a drink problem and handed in a letter of apology on his behalf.

hnews@herald.ie


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