gavel1TWO men who fought inside a Co Donegal nightclub in a row over a ‘gay shirt’ have been ordered to hand over €750 each by a judge.

One of the men suffered a broken jaw and the other man bruising after a punch-up at The Grill in Letterkenny on August 15, 2012.

Both had contested charges against them at a previous hearing at Letterkenny District Court.

The court heard an investigation was launched when Michael McDevitt, Drury Road, Kerrykeel, made a formal complaint of assault to officers at Letterkenny on August 24, 2012.

He had suffered a serious blow in the incident nine days earlier and was later transferred from Letterkenny General Hospital to Altnagelvin in Derry where he underwent surgery to repair a broken jaw.

A metal plate and six bolts had to be inserted into his jaw.

Adam O’Donnell, a 22-year-old apprentice toolmaker from Castlewray, Letterkenny, later admitted punching McDevitt, but insisted it was in self defence, and only to protect his younger brother Mark who had been accosted by McDevitt who had made references to his clothes and his “gay shirt.”

After hearing evidence from both men, Judge Paul Kelly convicted McDevitt of disorderly conduct in a public place, relating to his comments to Mark O’Donnell.

He also convicted both McDevitt and Adam O’Donnell on assault charges, the latter on assault causing harm.

Inspector Michael Harrison told the trial that on the evidence given to the court it was clear that Adam O’Donnell saw that his brother was frightened and he went to look after him.

Michael McDevitt was throwing insults at the young man Mark, he said, and his brother went over and intervened and an altercation took place.

Judge Paul Kelly agreed. He said the disorder in a public place – the insults to Mark O’Donnell – was proved.

He said there was some type of lunge by McDevitt on Adam O’Donnell in which he received a minor injury. Adam had retaliated resulting in life-changing injuries for Mr McDevitt, a 20-year-old driver with Marine Harvest in Kerrykeel.

Judge Paul Kelly said the incident was started by McDevitt “who must have been in a state of considerable intoxication” having consumed two pints of bulmers  and a half a bottle of vodka before going to The Grill and then six vodkas and two Jagemeisters on the premises.

“He subjected Mark O’Donnell to extremely offensive insults and his brother Adam had intervened. The incident escalated almost instantly and I am satisfied they struck each other,” said the judge.

Today ‘favourable’ probation reports were handed in to Judge Kelly.

Solicitors Niall Sheridan, for O’Donnell, and Ciaran McLaughlin for McDevitt, pleaded that both men had suffered as a result of the incident.

They asked that no conviction be recorded and that the men be given a chance.

Both men did not want the other to “suffer any further punitive” actions, said Mr Sheridan.

Judge Paul Kelly said the fight was “an all too common tale around here.”

He added: “The Courts are constantly dealing with cases fuelled by drink where young men get too much on board and the next thing there is violence and serious injury.”

The judge said the courts would always deal in a certain way with young men on first offences but that both of them had contested the charges at a trial.

However he said in the circumstances he would order each man to pay €750 into court.

He said €250 would be used to pay State expenses in the case and €500 would be donated to the Donegal Youth Service.

Judge Kelly ordered that the fees be paid by September 15 and that both men should appear in court again on that date.

 


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