Irish footballer Anthony Stokes yet to cough up €30k 'remorse payment' to headbutt victim

Anthony Stokes arriving at court today
Anthony Stokes arriving at court today

Irish international footballer Anthony Stokes has not paid over a €30,000 "practical expression of remorse" to a man he headbutted in the VIP lounge of a Dublin nightclub, a court has heard.

Last February, Stokes received a two-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to assault causing harm to Anthony Bradley (53) at Buck Whaleys, Leeson Street, Dublin city on June 8, 2013.

Stokes currently plays for Blackburn Rovers and has nine international caps with the Irish team.

Judge Patricia Ryan in imposing sentence last February had noted that the €30,000 was being handed over by Stokes to the injured party as a "practical expression of remorse". The court was told at that time that there were civil proceedings ongoing at the High Court.

She said on the sentence date that the "practical expression of remorse" came from Stokes and was not a condition of the suspended sentence. She noted he had expressed remorse following the offence and in court.

At that hearing defence, counsel told Judge Ryan that Stokes had made arrangements for the money to be transferred in the UK and said "so it's in a sense out of his hands". He asked the court for two weeks in relation to the money.

Judge Ryan said that if there was any problem the matter could be re-entered before the court.

Today, Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, told Judge Ryan he was asking the court to consider revisiting the sentence. He submitted the court had given liberty to re-enter the case if there was difficulties with the payment of money. He said that the €30,000 had not been paid.

Anthony Bradley

Judge Ryan said that she had given liberty to re-enter the case at that time in order to facilitate the transfer of the money. She stated that the payment of the money was not a condition of the suspended sentence.

She told Mr Collins: "I don't do compensation, you cannot buy yourself out of trouble."

Judge Ryan noted that there is a facility for the Circuit Court to make compensation orders but said she did not do that.

"Compensation is a matter for the civil courts," she said.

Judge Ryan today made "no order" in the case.

At the original sentence hearing last February, the court heard that Mr Bradley had an exchange of words with a man in Stokes' company because this man was unsteady on his feet and spilling his drink. The conversation was not considered aggressive by other witnesses.

The victim said later said that Stokes then "arrived out of nowhere".

He said he tried to tell him everything was "okay" before Stokes headbutted him on the bridge of his nose. Mr Bradley was bleeding so badly that his friend, who was standing with him, was covered in blood. He was later treated for a fractured nose and two broken teeth.

Detective Garda Des Rogers told the court that as Stokes was being removed from the nightclub he was heard saying: "What did I do? I didn't start it.

"If someone puts it up to me I am going to nut them."

At the sentence hearing in February, counsel Dean Kelly BL said his client wished to apologise for what he described as "a nasty and cowardly thing to do". The court heard at the time that civil proceedings were continuing in the High Court.

Mr Kelly said there was "no doubt that headbutting has a thuggish element to it" and Stokes "knows that". He said it was deeply embarrassing for both him and his employer.

Det Gda Rogers agreed that Stokes rang the hostess at Buck Whaleys the following day to apologise for his behaviour and said he couldn't remember what happened.

Stokes was arrested by arrangement through his solicitor but made no comment during interview. The case was set down for trial twice before he pleaded guilty last November.

Mr Bradley, who previously worked as a car park attendant at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, stated that he was out on sick leave for eight months after the assault. He stated in his victim impact report that he had had to undergo extensive dental work and surgery to his nose which to date has cost him €13,500.

Mr Bradley also stated that he now suffered with chronic neck pain which prevented him from sleeping properly at night. It was accepted in court that he had a pre-existing undiagnosed condition which caused the issue with his neck but Mr Bradley believes that the assault exasperated it.

Mr Bradley said he was now on medication for both depression and pain so he could "sustain some standard of life". He feared he would now be on life-long medication for pain because of the attack and said he would need more extensive dental work.

He said he had not returned to work since the assault due to the significant physical and psychological problems he continued to suffer.

At the sentencing, Judge Ryan described it as a serious assault and noted that Mr Bradley continues to suffer.

Anthony Stokes

Mr Kelly said Stokes, a father-of-two, left school after his junior cert having being recruited by the Arsenal Youth Academy. His parents moved with him to London where he continued his education and did his A levels.

He made his senior debut with Arsenal at 17, and later played with Celtic for six years before he moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2016.

A number of testimonials were handed into court, including one from his principal at Terenure College in Dublin where Stokes attended as a teenager. He was described as a mannerly, courteous, honest and trustworthy student who was well regarded by both staff and peers.

A second letter from a drill sergeant with the Irish Defence Forces stated that Stoke did pre-season training with him and he always found him professional and hard-working.

Sonya McLean/Fiona Ferguson