Judge tells Limerick hurler he ‘can expect a custodial sentence’

Judge Dermot Sheehan said Kyle Hayes “can expect a custodial sentence”. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

THE judge in the trial of five-time All-Ireland winning Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes warned the ace athlete that he is facing the prospect of a custodial sentence after he was convicted by a jury of two counts of violent disorder.

Judge Dermot Sheehan yesterday (Friday) said Hayes’ use or threatened use of violence on the dancefloor of the Icon nightclub in Limerick City on October 28, 2019, was “extremely dangerous” to the large numbers of people who were attending the club on the night.

The judge said Mr Hayes’ conviction meant his “status” before the courts had “changed” and he “can expect a custodial sentence”.

Judge Sheehan said convictions on contested charges of violent disorder would usually be dealt with by way of an immediate remand in custody, but he agreed to an application by Hayes’s barrister Brian McInerney SC, for a remand on bail.

Judge Sheehan warned Mr McInerney not to take his decison to grant bail as how he intended to dispose of the sentence.

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The judge told Mr McInerney he was “making no promises”, and that the barrister now had an opportunity to seek “testimonials” on behalf of Hayes which the court would consider prior to sentencing.

The jury of seven men and five women acquitted Hayes (25), of Ballyashea, Kildimo, of a charge, which he also denied, of assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy, Ballysimon, outside the Icon nightclub on the same date as the violet disorder.

The two-week trial heard allegations that Kyle Hayes and others attacked Mr McCarthy on the dancefloor of the Icon, repeatedly punching him in the head  after Hayes had earlier warned Mr McCarthy and his friend Craig Cosgrave to “stay the f-ck away” from two women who were friends of the two men, one of whom was seeing a friend of Mr Hayes’ at the time.

Craig Cosgrave, who the court heard was trying to defend Mr McCarthy during the dancefloor brawl, was acquitted of violent disorder in the club on the night.

Mr McCarthy gave evidence that Hayes was “aggressive” and shouted at him, “do you know who the f-ck I am” after Mr McCarthy tried to explain that he and Mr Cosgrave were just talking to the two women, who they had known since their school days.

A number of witnesses told the court they saw Mr McCarthy with blood on his face and a swollen eye outside the club after the brawl.

They said Mr McCarthy told them that Kyle Hayes had attacked him inside the club, and that he was waiting for his friend, Mr Cosgrave, to come out of the club.

The prosecution claimed Mr McCarthy rushed to Mr Cosgrave’s aid after he was set upon by a group of men outside the club. It alleged Kyle Hayes and others chased Mr McCarthy along Upper Denmark Street before they punched, kicked, and stamped on him as he lay cowering on the ground.

Two Gardaí told the court when they arrived on scene that they saw Kyle Hayes kicking a male who was lying on the ground.

One of the officers, Detective Garda Dean Landers, Roxboro Road Garda Station, said he identified himself as a Garda to Mr Hayes and told him to stay where he was while holding him at the scene.

“He (Mr Hayes) told me to f-ck off, he pulled his arm, at force, away from my grip and he turned and ran,” Det Gda Landers told the court.

He said he repeatedly shouted after Hayes, “Gardaí, stop”, but Mr Hayes kept running, before he was eventually apprehended by Detective Landers several streets away.

Garda Daniel O’Riordan, Roxboro Station, also gave an eye-witness account of seeing Mr Hayes kicking a male on the ground on the night. He said he had “absolutely no doubt” it was Kyle Hayes “kicking forward into the man’s head and shoulder area twice”.

The Gardaí agreed there was no CCTV footage of the alleged attack on Upper Denmark Street, and they accepted there was “chaos” and “confusion” on the street as hundreds of people spilled out of the nightclub.

Mr Hayes admitted in Garda interviews that he ran from Gardaí, telling them: “I just wanted to get out of there, I didn’t want to get dragged into it.”

Mr Hayes denied assaulting Mr McCarthy but told Gardaí he eventually stopped running from them on the night because he feared running would have “made me look guilty”.

Following his conviction, Mr Hayes was remanded on bail of his own bond of €100 and with strict conditions to appear before Limerick Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing on January 19, 2024.

He agreed to give Gardaí his passport and not apply for any new travel documents, obey a nightly curfew (10.30pm-6am), and not commit any further offences while on bail.

Speaking afterwards, Craig Cosgrave, who was embraced by his family, said he was “delighted” he had been found not guilty and all he had done was try and “protect” himself and Mr McCarthy on the night.

“I’m delighted its all over, is been a very overwhelming two weeks, and I’m delighted I’ve been found innocent. A not guilty verdict was the right result, so I’m pleased with that.”

“I just graduated from college, so I’m going to pursue a job in engineering.”