Four Longford men, who pleaded guilty to violent disorder and criminal damage at a pub in Ballinamuck over two years ago, have avoided jail and been ordered to pay €6,000 compensation to two men injured in the incident.
At Tuesday’s sitting of Longford Circuit Court, Gary Stokes, Patrick Stokes, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Stokes and Tommy Stokes, all with addresses in Longford, were given suspended sentences for their role in a violent incident which occurred at Dillons Pub in March 2015.
On day seven of a trial last February, the four men, who had been accused of violent disorder and criminal damage plead guilty to the charges which were accepted by the DPP as the trial was about to collapse.
They had been charged following an altercation at the 50th birthday party of Patrick Paddy Stokes, which took place at Dillons Pub in Ballinamuck.
At this week’s sentencing hearing, the court heard that the party, which had begun at approximately 6.30pm, had run off peacefully until a violent incident involving the four accused and three other men, after midnight in the female toilets of the pub.
Two of the injured parties, Anthony Mongan, and James Mongan, with addresses in Edgeworthstown, claimed in their victim impact statement that they had suffered physical and psychological scars following the incident and increased anxiety in social settings.
The four accused, who the court heard all had multiple previous convictions, offered frank and full apologies to the Mongan’s as well as the pub owner, Patrick Dillon for the incident and the court was told that money was also being offered in court as compensation to the Mongans.
Passing sentence Judge Keenan Johnson claimed that the injured parties were ‘broken men’ as a consequence of the incident in the pub, and an aggravating factor was the level of violence used in the incident.
He claimed the fact the men pleaded guilty, thereby eliminating the need for a re-trial, and there have been no serious offences recorded by gardai since the incident, were mitigating factors.
He imposed a two-year jail term on each man for the charge of criminal damage, which was suspended in lieu of 240 hours community service while the court awaits probation service reports due in November.
On the charge of violent disorder, a four year jail term was imposed on each man, suspended on condition that all four men enter into a €500 euro bond, not to contact the victims, and to pay a total of €6,000 euro to the victims – €500 immediately, and then €1,500 on the 1st of December every year until 2020.
Addressing the victims, Judge Johnson claimed that the compensation was the best he could offer to the victims in light of the injuries they had suffered and a lack of a defined court compensation scheme and if there was any failure to comply with his directions, he would activate the sentences.