Shane Diver, whose address was given to the court as Glencar Park, Letterkenny, was also fined €1,000 for the attacks outside the Station House Hotel in June 2011. The 29-year-old had denied three assault charges
Conor McGowan, (pictured) who is 22 and from Windyhall, Letterkenny, was also found guilty of three assaults and will be sentenced at a later date.
The case has been heard over several days – with one victim giving evidence via Skype videolink from Perth in Australia and two others flying in from Spain.
The court heard the attack happened after comments were made to the Galway victims about them ‘up here taking our jobs.’ All three had been in Letterkenny carrying out work on a local shop and the comments were made in Voodoo.
Judge Paul Kelly, convicting both local men, said Diver’s single punch attack on Ballinasloe man Mark Smyth was “particularly reprehensible.”
Mr Smyth had suffered a broken jaw and lost a tooth in the incident.
“Diver was seen a matter of seconds standing before he threw the punch standing beside Mr Smyth who had his hand on Diver’s back in a friendly gesture and seconds later he was in receipt of an unexpected blow which led to a broken jaw and losing a tooth. It was entirely unprovoked and unexpected,” said Judge Kelly.
He jailed Diver for six months for the Section 3 attack on Mr Smyth. He also fined him €500 for two Section 2 assaults on John Kelly and Enda Carty, also from Co Galway. Diver, who denied the attack, is to appeal the conviction.
The court heard that CCTV footage led Gardai to arrest Patrick Boyce as being at the scene. He was not charged with any offence but did give a statement to gardai identifying Diver and McGowan as being at the scene.
State witness Mr Boyce was treated today as a hostile witness in the case after failing in court to clearly identify Diver and McGowan on CCTV footage despite having done so in his witness statement to Gardai.
Mr Boyce, from Booragh, Ramelton, had to be threatened with arrest for failing to turn up at a previous hearing in the case against his two friends.
At a previous hearing – held at 8am to facilitate Mr Smyth who now lives in Perth, Australia – Garda Sean Duffy said that on the 1st of July 2011 at Letterkenny Garda station at 2pm three males reported that they had been assaulted at the station house hotel on the 29 June.
They were John Kelly, Mark Smyth and Enda Carthy from Ballinasloe.
They had been working in Letterkenny for a week as carpenters by trade.
At 8.30pm on June 28th they left the Station House Hotel where they had been staying and went to the Brewery Bar for food and a pint.
Then they proceeded to the Voodoo bar for more drink. While there got speaking to a male of thin build about 6ft tall wearing a blue t- shirt and a gold and silver chain around his neck.
This person talked to Mark Smyth, Smyth couldn’t understand his accent so asked his friend Enda Carty to engage in conversation with him. The conversation was about work.
They continued socialising and went to the ink nightclub upstairs in the voodoo. Enda Carty met the man again upstairs in the nightclub and they bought each other a drink each.
Enda Carty then left Voodoo early and returned to the hotel. But he had forgotten his key and walked back towards Voodoo to meet his two friends.
He met up with them and they made their way to the Station House. John Kelly walking slightly ahead of two other Galway men turned around noticed three males running a bit of a distance away.
Suddenly Enda Carty got a fist in the back of the head. A stand off ensued and an argument began.
The three injured parties tried to reason with the other males, said the Garda, asking the the male in the blue t-shirt and gold chain that had been drinking with Enda Carty why their friend had hit him.
Then another male landed on the scene and there was possibly another male in a car nearby. This all took place around 3.40 am on the Pearse Road beside the Station House Hotel.
Mark Smyth, after a short period of time trying to talk to the males, received a strike to the right hand side of his face on his jaw.
The next thing Smyth remembered was going into the Station House. His memory was hazy after receiving the blow, he said.
John Kelly received two punches from two separate males. Enda Carty received the initial punch in the back of the head while walking to the hotel, the court heard.
Mr Kelly and Mr Carty gave evidence in the afternoon.
Each recalled finishing work for the evening, going to the Brewery Bar for dinner and a pint before going to Voodoo where they entered a pub quiz and then went on to the nightclub after winning free tickets for the venue.
The witnesses described how one man at Voodoo had made a remark about how Galway men were able to come to Donegal to work when “we can’t get work.”
As the men were returning to the hotel, a number of men followed them.
Mr Carty said he was punched in the back of the head. As Mr Smyth and Mr Kelly tried to reason with the men, Mr Smyth was punched in the face sustaining the serious injury which later required surgery at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.
Garda Sean Duffy played CCTV from the Station House Hotel to the court. In one scene, a man with his back to the camera could be seen chatting to Mr Smyth for around 20 seconds before suddenly punching him.
The force of the punch sent Mr Smyth to the ground and out of view of the cameras.
Several other punches were then thrown at Mr Kelly and Mr Carty in the horrific CCTV footage.
Mr Kieran O’Gorman, solicitor for one of the accused men, remarked during that hearing that he hadn’t seen any assaults having watched the footage three times.
Judge Paul Kelly remarked: “You should have gone to SpecSavers.”
The footage was shown again today.
It showed several punches being thrown – including the ‘sneaky’ punch thrown by Diver at Mr Smyth.