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12 Aug 2022

Cousins brawled outside Dundalk bookies, court heard

Cousins brawled outside Dundalk bookies, court heard

Dundalk courthouse

Two first cousins who were involved in a brawl outside a local betting shop which went viral on social media, have been sentenced at Dundalk Circuit Court sitting in Drogheda.

Leigh Kearney (26) with an address at O'Hanlon Park, Dundalk and Leonard Ward  (31) of Oldbridge, Toberona, Dundalk had both pleaded guilty to a charge of affray at Marian Park, Dundalk on May 27th 2019, while Mr. Kearney also admitted producing a wheel brace during the incident.

The court heard last Wednesday that neither of the defendants had made a complaint to gardaí and the brawl which occurred outside Bar One Racing had come to Garda attention as it was recorded by others at the scene and circulated throughout the country on social media.

Leonard Ward had placed his bike on top of Leigh Kearney's car, words were exchanged but it escalated and Leigh Kearney struck the first blow and later produced a tyre iron.The court was told Leonard Ward disarmed his cousin and threw the wheel brace to the ground and walked away bringing the incident to an end.

Mr. Ward had 60 previous convictions, 47 of which were for public order offences, and was serving a sentence imposed by the district court with a release date in May, while his cousin had four, including assault causing harm.

Leonard Ward's barrister said her client has an addiction to alcohol and tablets and was someone who wasn't able to regulate his motions but stressed that he hadn't started the brawl and while he had engaged in it, he brought it to an end.

Leigh Kearney's lawyer explained his client had arrived on the scene having heard his cousin was in an intoxicated state and wanted him to leave. 

He added you could hear "laughing and jeering" from those present.The barrister confirmed that his client is not currently drug-free, while the court heard Leonard Ward has self-referred himself to the Turas counseling service.

Judge Patrick Quinn described it as an ugly incident. He imposed 12 month sentences on both for affray, but suspended the final seven months of Leonard Ward's sentence.
Judge Quinn suspended Leigh Kearney's sentence in its entirety, which he also did for the concurrent 12 month sentence he imposed for producing the wheel brace.  

As part of the terms of the suspended sentences, both men must engage with the Probation Service for the duration of the suspended portion of their sentences.

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