A CIRCUIT court judge said that it was ‘pure luck’ that the victim of a violent assault was alive, when she sentenced the ‘main protaganist’ to two and a half years in prison and suspended the final year.
Garda Ger Comerford told the court he was on duty in the early hours of August 9, 2009 when Graignamanagh when gardai received a phone call in relation to an incident involving a large group of people. On examination of CCTV footage the injured parties Mr Paul Butler, Mr Michael Butler and Mr Jamie McGrath were seen standing outside The Globe pub. Two of the defendants, Howard Buggy and Graham O’Neill were seen entering the pub and a short time after Buggy was seen confronting Paul Barry who was standing in the middle of the street talking to his brother, Michael and Mr McGrath.
“Howard Buggy headbutted Paul Barry and both became involved in a physical altercation in the middle of the street. Graham O’Neil and Anthony Jordan proceeded to get involved with Michael Butler. Howard Buggy had Paul Barry and brought him across the street to where the kerb and footpath meet. Michael Butler was five or six yards away lying in a foetal position on the ground receiving a number of blows from Graham O’Neill and Anthony Jordan.
“Howard Buggy was the only person standing over Paul Butler who was lying on the ground. At one stage Buggy got Paul Butler’s head and slapped it off the kerb. Jamie Mc Grath was on crutches at the time and tried to intervene and a verbal confrontation took place lasting three to four seconds and Anthony Jordan returned to where Michael Barry was on the ground and proceeded to kick him. Howard Buggy returned to where Paul Butler was lying on the ground. At this stage a large crowd had arrived from the Globe and became involved in the incident. Alex Dwyer entered the scene. He went over and kicked Michael Butler who was on the ground. As the crowd got larger the four defendants pushed back up the street away from where Michael and Paul Butler were on the ground. When the gardai arrived all four defendants were moving away and there was verbal interaction. Paul Butler was unconscious. An ambulance was called and the two were taken to St Lukes,” he said.
Medical reports were handed into the court. The court also heard that the incident, which was captured on CCTV lasted approximately 90 seconds. All four defendants were arrested, questioned and admitted their involvement in the days following the incident. “After seeing footage all four were disturbed by what they saw. Both injured parties have made full recoveries,” added Garda Comerford.
Barrister Brian O’Shea told the court that Michael Butler was a jockey by profession and works between Australia, the US and Dubai and that Paul Butler lives and resides in Graignamanagh. The court heard that Buggy has a previous conviction for drink driving and assault. Anthony Jordan has a previous conviction for assault, road traffic offences and a conviction under the Misuse for Drugs Act. Alex O’Dwyer has two previous convictions for having drugs in his possession for personal use and Graham O’Neill has no previous convictions.
The court heards that Buggy, a 36-year-old father-of-four was ‘extremely remorseful’ and ‘admitted guilt at the earliest available opportunity’. He also offered €1700 to the court in compensation. A probation report was handed into the court which stated that all his previous convictions related to excessive drinking. The report also stated that the defendant had engaged in counselling, has a high level of victim empathy and has made great steps towards rehabilitation.
A number of testimonials were handed into the court in relation to O’Neill and the court heard that he felt ‘shame’ over the incident and was willing to pay €1500 in compensation. The court heard that Anthony Jordan had completed an anger management course and counselling and had €2,000 in compensation and that O’Dwyer had expressed remorse to the gardai, and told the probation officer that he was ashamed of his behaviour on the night and was willing to pay €2,000 in compensation.
Judge Alice Doyle said that it was a case of ‘gratitous violence by people who had too much to drink’. “There was a case in Dublin in recent years of a similar nature that resulted in the death of man and that could have happened to either of these brothers. This cannot be condoned or put up with in civilised society. It is uncivilised and cannot be put up with by human beings.”
She described Buggy as ‘the main protaganist’ who was ‘extremely violent’. “While Paul Butler was lying on the ground he got his head and slapped it off the kerb. It is pure luck that Paul Butler is still alive,” she said. She sentenced Howard Buggy, 21 Woodgrove, Tullow Road, Carlow (who was living in Graignamanagh) at the time of the incident was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violent disprder at Main Street, Graignamanagh on August 9. Judge Alice Doyle suspended one year on condition that the defendant enter a bond to kepp the peace and do any treatment recommended by the probation service. She also sentenced him to two years for assault and suspended one year of the sentence. Buggy also received a two and a half month sentence in relation to an assault on Jamie Mc Grath.
In relation to Graham O’Neill, Tinnacouse, Skeough she remarked that he had ‘turned his life around and was in college in Wales’. “This was a vicious and violent attack. I am applying the Probation Act and he is getting a chance. I hope never to see you before any court again,” she said. She sentenced Anthony Jordan, Station Road, Borris to 18 months in prison in relation to the violent disorder charge and suspended 15 months on condition that he keep the peace and to 15 months for assault causing harm and suspended 12 months of that sentence. She remarked that Jordan had inflicted ‘blows and kicks’ to Michael Butler when he was in ‘the foetal position’. “He is very lucky that he is not here on a much more serious charge,” she said. Judge Doyle applied the Probation Act in relation to Alex Dwyer, Woodlawn, Borris describing his actions as ‘vicious and cowardly’. The judge ordered that all the compensation be paid over to the court to be distributed to the injured parties.