Young man avoids jail for role in violent city-centre brawl

Jordan McGuinness
Jordan McGuinness

A young man with no previous criminal record has been given a suspended sentence for taking part in a violent late night city centre brawl.

Jordan McGuinness (19) and Craig Smith (20) and two other men attacked two innocent students who walked by while the accused were trying to break up a fight between two women.

McGuinness and another man, who cannot be identified because he is facing trial, punched Lee Whelan, knocking him to the ground.

The other man punched Dylan Campbell a number of times. Smith and the other man went to the boot of their car and grabbed an iron bar and a hammer.

CCTV footage viewed by Judge Karen O'Connor showed Smith swinging the bar towards the two victims and making contact with Mr Campbell.

The other man swung the hammer with force twice at Mr Campbell, striking him once. The footage also showed McGuinness punching Whelan.

Today Judge O'Connor imposed a one year sentence on McGuinness which she suspended for 18 months. She also ordered that he complete one year of probation supervision.

Judge O'Connor said she would sentence Smith on a later date, after noting that he had used a weapon in the attack. She adjourned his matter to December next and said she wants to see if he can stay out of trouble.

The court was told the men were willing to pay €500 each to the victims as a token of their remorse.

McGuinness of Corduff Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin and Smith of Corduff Grove, Blanchardstown both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at D'Olier St., Dublin city on May 23, 2016.

Garda Wayne Donnelly told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that when gardaí arrived at the scene they found Mr Whelan in a semi-conscious state on the ground with an injury to his head.

Mr Campbell suffered cuts to his scalp and received medical staples. Neither man completed a victim impact statement and both withdrew their complaints after giving their initial statements to gardaí, the court heard.

Gda Donnelly told the court that the four men were sitting in a car parked on D'Olier st. when two women became involved in a physical fight.

The men knew one of these women and they got out of the car to break up the fight. The two male victims were out for the night and walked by this scene and some words were exchanged before the accused began attacking the victims.

Oisin Clarke BL, defending Smith, said his client had drank a colossal amount of alcohol on the night and had also taken cocaine. He said Smith doesn't remember much about the night and was shocked when he saw his actions on CCTV footage.

He said he had since stopped using drugs and tempered his drinking. He was working and was also hoping to start a tiling apprenticeship. He said he was not a man of means but had brought €250 to court.

Conor McKenna BL, defending, McGuinness, said that this was an extremely frightening and nasty incident. He said his client deeply regretted his behaviour.

He said his parents were both working and were very concerned that their son was before the court “for behaving like a thug”.

Counsel said that McGuinness had €500 to offer in compensation to the victims. Garda Donnelly accepted that McGuinness was genuinely remorseful about his actions.

Smith was also charged with assault of Mr Campbell causing him harm and production of an offensive weapon. McGuinness faced an additional charge of assault of Mr Whelan causing him harm. These charges will be taken into consideration on sentencing.