Top Irish boxer arrested at Dublin Airport in connection with street brawl

Arrest: Mr Kavanagh was refused bail when he appeared in court today
Arrest: Mr Kavanagh was refused bail when he appeared in court today

TOP professional boxer Jamie Kavanagh has been refused bail after he was charged over street brawl following his father's funeral in Dublin last year.

The 25-year-old lightweight, who is from Mourne Road, Drimnagh, in Dublin but now living in London with his partner and their six-month old baby, faces a single count of violent disorder, which can carry a 10-year sentence.

The charge is in connection with an incident outside the Jackson Court Hotel at Harcourt Street in Dublin city-centre on September 23 last year during which trouble broke out when door staff refused entry to his group.

Mr Kavanagh, who has a professional boxing record of 20 wins, one draw and one loss,  had come back to Dublin to score a seventh round win in his latest bout at the National Boxing Stadium on Saturday (November 7th).

However, the fighter, nicknamed “The Nuisance”, was arrested at Dublin Airport on Monday evening as he and his partner were about to get a flight back to London.

He was taken to Pearse St Garda station where he was charged with the offence which involves an allegation that and others used or threatened to use violence to cause others to fear for their safety.

During his hearing at Dublin District Court Garda Niall Murray told Judge Michael Walsh today that Kavanagh made no reply when he was charged. The DPP had directed that he should face trial on indictment, in the Circuit Court, Judge Walsh was told.

Gda Murray objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case and strength of evidence and fears the boxer would not turn up for his trial.

He said the CCTV evidence is very clear and the defendant is clearly identifiable in the footage. It was alleged that following Mr Kavanagh's father's funeral, a number of people went to Harcourt Street but were refused entry at one premises.

They then went to the Jackson Court hotel but were again refused entry after which “there was a very large fight, Mr Kavanagh was involved in this”.

Gda Murray said some of the door staff “were hit a number of times, Mr Kavanagh was in the middle of this”. There were six or seven in the group and five of them have been identified, he said.

He said Mr Kavanagh, who has fought 22 professional fights around the world, lives in London, outside the jurisdiction. Gda Murray believed that if he were granted bail he would not appear in court for his trial.

He said the accused, who did not address the court, has not lived in Ireland since he was 11. During the investigation a number of people had been arrested. Gda Murray said he had asked them to let Mr Kavanagh know he wanted to speak with him but he never got in touch.

In March this year, there was another family funeral and Gda Murray went to his grandmother's home in Drimnagh and left his card and number for him to ring him when he had the chance. 

Gda Murray said since that date there had been no contact and he avoided gardai “at every hand's turn” and going to the airport was the only reasonable way he had of arresting him.

Defence solicitor Lorraine Stephens said her client would turn up for his trial and wanted to “vindicate his good name”. Refusing bail would damage his boxing career and he needs to be able to travel to earn a living. It could be at least 18 months before the case goes to trial, the court heard.

She said he is alleged to have had a lesser role in the incident and he became involved after others, however, the garda said that it was a “split second”. The solicitor said that her client's grandmother has offered her address and Mr Kavanagh had lived there as a child.

She also said she was instructed that he had not received the messages that Gda Murray was looking for him.

Judge Walsh refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Thursday when co-defendants are due to be served with books of evidence.