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Thursday 15 November 2018

Drug shame Olympic boxer gets 5-month jail sentence over attack

Boxer Michael O’Reilly
Boxer Michael O’Reilly

Boxer Michael O'Reilly, who failed a drugs test at the Olympics last year, has been given a five-month prison sentence after admitting causing criminal damage to a caravan following an engagement party.

The sentence was imposed on O'Reilly (24), from Mountrath, Laois, at Thurles District Court yesterday but he walked free from court pending an appeal to the Circuit Court.

His father, Michael O'Reilly Snr (45), of Portlaoise, was given a three-month prison term for causing criminal damage during the same incident on April 18, 2016, but also went free after giving notice of an appeal.

A brother, James O'Reilly (18), of Portlaoise, was bound to the peace for a year, for criminal damage, while a bench warrant was issued for another brother, Bernard (24), who also admitted criminal damage but has left the jurisdiction for the UK since evidence was heard last June.

The boxer was due to fight for Ireland in the Rio Olympics but was sent home on the eve of the Games when it was confirmed he had failed a drugs test before leaving Ireland for the event.

He said after yesterday's court proceedings he was "not commenting" on the possibility of making a boxing comeback but confirmed he was appealing the sentence imposed by Judge Elizabeth MacGrath. He had pleaded guilty in June.

The case was adjourned on that occasion to allow the defendants to bring compensation to court - €879 for damage to a Nissan Micra, €664 for damage to a Citroen. The cost of damage to a caravan was disputed.

The court heard yesterday that the injured parties in the case put the damage to the caravan at €7,260 but defence solicitor Philip Meagher, for Michael O'Reilly Snr and James O'Reilly, said his clients would place it at "no more than €1,000".

Convictions

Michael O'Reilly Snr had taken €150 in compensation to court. He had bought a vehicle for conversion to a family car but ended up with a Revenue debt of €3,000 as a result, the court heard. "He has been dealing with that over the last number of months," said Mr Meagher.

JJ Fitzgerald, Michael O'Reilly Jnr's lawyer, said his client had taken €100 to court. It would have been more, he added, but his wife recently gave birth to their third child "and a lot of that money went on the baby expenses". Judge MacGrath said the compensation offered by the defendants was "totally inadequate" and "totally unacceptable".

After hearing that Michael O'Reilly Jnr had 37 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences but also for theft and fraud and public order, she imposed a five-month sentence.

Michael O'Reilly Snr had two previous convictions, for minor road traffic matters, and received a three-month sentence.

"I have given the parties a way to avoid a custodial sentence by dealing with it in a particular way. This hasn't happened," Judge MacGrath said.

The court heard in June that the defendants had been attending an engagement party in Littleton, Co Tipperary, and gardai were called to an incident at 5am.

Michael O'Reilly Snr and his sons had started throwing rocks at an area where their relatives, the Doyle family, had caravans.

"Excessive" damage was caused to a caravan, the court heard in June.

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