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Thursday 13 December 2018

Lesson learned as teachers spared jail over mass pub fight

Conor Shannon and Michael Davitt leaving court
Conor Shannon and Michael Davitt leaving court

Two teachers and an accountant have been spared jail for their part in a brawl at a well-known Dublin pub.

Teachers Michael Davitt and Seamus O Cearra and accountant Conor Shannon all walked free from court yesterday after admitting violent disorder charges over the 10-man melee.

A fourth accused, warehouse manager Stephen Cantwell, also avoided a prison term while a fifth, electrician David McSweeney, was jailed for six months.

Passing sentence, Judge Brian O'Shea said the teachers were "ambassadors for their schools" whenever they went out and they had "let their profession down and, more importantly, they have let themselves down".

Glass

The five men pleaded guilty to violent disorder over a row at McGowan's pub in Phibsboro on July 14, 2017. McSweeney also admitted producing a pint glass as a weapon.

At Dublin District Court yesterday, Judge O'Shea gave O Cearra (34) a one-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay €800 to charity.

O Cearra, of Mount Symon Green, Clonsilla, is a teacher at Mary, Mother of Hope National School in Dublin 15.

Davitt (34), of Clanmaurice Road, Donnycarney, a teacher at Holywell Educate Together in Swords, was told he could avoid a conviction if he paid €800 to charity within six months.

Judge O'Shea said he would also apply the Probation Act in the case of Shannon (33), of Glendale Estate, Leixlip, if he too paid €800 to charity.

Only McSweeney (31), of McKee Avenue, Finglas, was jailed after the judge noted that he had waited for the "perfect moment" to throw a pint glass full force into O Cearra's face.

Cantwell (28), of Collins Avenue, Dublin 9, was given a two-month suspended sentence.

Investigating officer Garda Gerard Loughnane handed the court CCTV footage of the brawl which was viewed by the judge.

The court heard the incident happened at 2.40am when up to 10 people got involved in a row which continued even after staff tried to separate them.

Cantwell was seen kicking another man from behind - after he had been punched by that man earlier in the row.

Davitt was seen throwing a number of punches. He also suffered a bloody nose after receiving a blow to the face.

McSweeney threw a glass which hit O Cearra, who suffered a cut to his forehead.

O Cearra was kicked, but he was also observed punching one man in the face, knocking him against the bar and to the floor.

Shannon was knocked down and was seen throwing punches.

The accused all apologised.

Michael Hanahoe, solicitor for O Cearra, Shannon and Davitt, said they were "extremely ashamed" of their behaviour.

Stephen O'Mahony, solicitor for the other two accused, said the fight was instigated by other people who were not before the court.

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