'Talented footballers' have assault sentence adjourned

Two “talented footballers” who assaulted three men and left one with a serious head injury after he was knocked to the ground from a punch have had their sentences adjourned at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Robert Killeen (aged 21), who described himself to gardaÍ as “a boxer”, punched Nathan Burke who had tried to drag his friend, Michael Donoghue, away from an altercation with him.

Kelvin Dennan (aged 20), was left with a cut to his nose after he headbutted Mr Donoghue whose teeth had been replaced with titanium and covered with porcelain after being injured in an accident.

Mr Burke was taken to hospital in a semiconscious state where he was found to have a brain contusion and a skull fracture. He was released from hospital nine days later but is still traumatised by the assault.

Killeen of Druid Court, Ballymun pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Burke and Dennan of Fairways Park, Finglas East to assault with intent to cause bodily harm to Mr Donoghue and assault causing harm to Mr Ray Mongy at the Central Bank Plaza, Dame Street on May 14, 2006.

Defence counsel, Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, said Killeen had played soccer with Eircom Premier League club, St Patrick's Athletic, and hoped to progress as a footballer.

She said he was the father of an 18-month old child and had €3,000 in court to offer as a token of his genuine remorse for his actions that night.

Defence counsel Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, said Dennan played soccer “for both county and country” at schoolboy level and had been due to return for a second trial with English club Fulham but didn’t go back because his mother died of cancer.

Mr O'Higgins said there was an element of “argy-bargy” between the two groups that night and while Dennan’s behaviour was “totally out of character” he was still “wrong and liable”.

Judge Katherine Delahunt remanded Killeen in custody for sentence next month and Dennan on bail for sentence on the same date after she heard his father died earlier this month.

Detective Garda Rebecca Deveney told Mr Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that it was unclear how the “fracas” broke out between two groups of young men.

She said Mr Donoghue described Dennan as standing back amazed as if to say “what the fuck was that” after the attack had no affect on him.

She said there was no suggestion that either Mr Donoghue, Mr Mongy or Mr Burke had been the aggressors or that they received their injuries through acting in self defence.

Det Gda Deveney said Mr Burke has 40 percent loss of hearing in one ear and suffers from short term memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness and panic attacks.

He was out of work for six months before he returned to work part-time for six months. He was now in full-time employment again but had a suffered “a significant loss of earnings” estimated at €14,600 and €30 per week on an ongoing basis.

Det Gda Deveney said Killeen denied any involvement in the assault on Mr Burke. He told gardai he was a boxer and had recently taken part in a competition in the United States. He had no previous convictions.

She agreed with Ms Kennedy that there were various descrepancies between witnesses' accounts of what happended that night and that Mr Burke had wrongly described his attacker as wearing a pink jumper.

She accepted that medical reports made no reference to a specific precentage loss of hearing by Mr Burke.

Det Gda Deveney further accepted that there had been a considerable amount of alcohol taken that night by all the people involved and that Dennan was described as the “main instigator” of the events by wintesses.

Mr O’Higgins asked Judge Delahunt to consider that the “level of malice” was not at the higher end of the scale and that Dennan, who also had no previous convictions, was left injured rather than the victim.

He said his mother’s death was “a very traumatic time” in his life because he was close to her but added that Dennan was “anxious” to point out that this didn’t justify his actions.


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