Independent Councillor Jackie Healy-Rae and his younger brother, Kevin, have been convicted and given suspended prison sentences for assaulting a man in Kenmare, Co Kerry over Christmas in 2017.
The two men, of Sandymount, Kilgarvan, are sons of Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae.
The incident arose when when English man Kieran James and his fiancé Lauren objected to Kevin Healy Rae jumping a chip van queue.
A third man, Malachy Scannell, a friend of the Healy Raes, was also given a suspended sentence for assaulting Mr James (30) in the early hours of Dec 28, 2017.
The sentences were handed down by Judge David Waters who described Jackie Healy Rae as “an enforcer” in his actions on the night and said the main reason all three weren’t being jailed was their previous lack of convictions.
The judge also said the case fought on their behalf was directly contradicted by CCTV evidence. The case first came before the court last April and was fully contested over two days.
All three denied the charges.
When Kieran James' wife, Lauren, took issue with Kevin Healy Rae “barging” to the top of the queue, and placing his order, Kevin Healy Rae told her: “This is my town, this is my chip van!” the court heard previously. He then arrived back with his older brother, Jackie, and their friend.
Mr James was assaulted in two separate locations. The first was a common assault at the chip van in Park Lane.
Jackie Healy Rae held him in a headlock so he couldn’t breathe until Mr James' friends pleaded with him to let him go. Moments later, the Healy Raes and their friend “charged” up Main Street after Mr James, where they dealt him multiple blows, the court was told.
Mr James was almost unrecognisable after the assaults on Main St, the court heard — his face was swollen and pushed to one side and he was taken by ambulance from the scene. He was left with a broken nose, a chipped tooth and torn shoulder ligament and has had to have a number of nose operations.
Both Jackie Healy-Rae (24) and Kevin Healy-Rae (22) denied assaulting Kieran James. Their friend Malachy Scannell (34) of Inchinacoosh, Kilgarvan, denied a Section 3 assault against Mr James on the same date at Main St, Kenmare. He also denied assaulting another man, Cornelius O’Sullivan, and damaging his prescription glasses.
Jackie Healy Rae claimed he acted to protect his younger brother, but Judge David Waters rejected this.
At the sentencing hearing today, the victim impact statements of Mr James and Mr O’Sullivan along with character references for all three were handed to the Judge.
Judge Waters tore off one of the type-written sheets and handing it back to defence solicitor, Padraig O’Connell, told him: “A character reference should be just that. This is a request to deal with the matter in a certain way, and I’m handing that back.”
Handing down sentence, Judge Waters that an aggravating factor was how the accused maintained in their statements and in cross examination “a version of events on Main St not borne out by CCTV". The CCTV directly contradicted their version of events.
Judge Waters convicted Kevin Healy Rae and imposed a seven-month prison sentence and suspended the sentence on his own bond of €200.
Jackie Healy Rae was given a suspended jail sentence of eight months.
His brother, Kevin Healy Rae got a seven month suspended sentence.
Malachy Scannell was involved to a lesser degree, the judge said. He imposed six months suspended in the case of the assault on Mr James and six months suspended in the case of the assault on Mr O’Sullivan, suspended for one year.