herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

'I assure nothing of this nature will ever happen again'

Conor McGregor leaves the court after his conviction
yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts
Conor McGregor leaves the court after his conviction yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts

Conor McGregor's fighting career is in jeopardy after he was convicted of assaulting a man in his 50s in a Dublin pub.

The MMA fighter was fined €1,000 but avoided a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to the common assault of Desmond Keogh at the Marble Arch pub on April 6.

McGregor, of Lady Castle in Straffan, Co Kildare, apologised in court to his victim and said that "nothing of this nature" will happen again.

Despite avoiding a jail term there are now questions over McGregor's fighting career, with his conviction hampering his chances of securing a US visa, where most of his UFC fights have taken place.

During the hearing his solicitor Michael Staines said that his career could "be in jeopardy in the case of a conviction", before he was eventually convicted of assault.

Mr Staines also said that his client is currently in training for a fight in January, which has been scheduled to take place in Las Vegas.

Jeopardise

The court heard that the MMA fighter has paid an undisclosed sum of money to the victim and has also apologised to him.

McGregor - whose estimated net worth is €42m - has been given one month to pay the €1,000 fine.

Asked by the Herald if he was worried the conviction would jeopardise his fight career after leaving court, Conor McGregor declined to answer.

Garda Jason O'Carroll, of Crumlin garda station, gave evidence of the facts surrounding the assault and CCTV footage was also played in court.

The garda told the court that the victim said he recognised McGregor from the newspapers.

Mr Keogh was drinking in the Marble Arch pub, at around noon and left at 1.30pm to contact a taxi man before returning.

At 2.30pm McGregor arrived at the premises with two security men before buying a bottle of Proper 12 whiskey.

The court heard McGregor took the bottle of whiskey from the bar, as well as glasses, and offered drinks to a number of patrons.

Mr Keogh declined and placed the glass he was given back on to the bar.

Gda O'Carroll said that McGregor then slammed the glass down in front of Mr Keogh and made an approach to him before he was stopped by the two security men.

The garda explained that McGregor moved back and spoke to a man sitting to the right of Mr Keogh.

Gda O'Carroll said that McGregor then turned and punched Mr Keogh with a closed fist on the left side of his face.

The garda agreed with state solicitor Stephanie Doyle that both men were not known to each other prior to the incident, and that the victim was turned away from Mr McGregor when he was struck.

In the footage, he was then seen being quickly removed by his security staff.

McGregor watched the video as it was played to the court, including the moment he punched Mr Keogh.

Later addressing the court, McGregor said: "What I did was very wrong and I would like to apologise again to the victim and to the court and I assure nothing of this nature will happen again regarding me."

The court also heard that McGregor has 18 previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences, but one for assault causing harm as well as public order offences dating back a number of years.

Judge Treasa Kelly asked if there was a victim impact statement and if the complainant was in court.

The prosecution said that the injured party had been canvassed and did not wish to make a victim impact statement.

A letter was handed in to the court, signed by the victim, in which this was confirmed, and gardai also spoke to the complainant who indicated he did not want to attend court.

Judge Kelly noted McGregor's early plea of guilty, his remorse and that compensation has been paid to the victim.

She said that a custodial sentence was not appropriate, convicted the UFC star of assault and fined him €1,000.

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