CCTV footage of the vicious assault was shown in court as the injured party was hauled to the ground during a melee and was punched, kicked and had her head “stomped on” and bashed against the street.
Judge James McNulty compared garda video evidence to a Wild West movie where “cowboys would tumble out of a saloon” and fight on the streets.
Sarah McCarthy, aged 28, from 3 Rosehill, Kinsale, a mother of an 11-year-old girl, and her sister Denise McCarthy, aged 32, a mother-of-two from 39 Cluain An Or, Belgooly, were both convicted of assault causing harm to Paula Canty on June 4 last year.
Chloe Walsh, aged 22, from 3 Knockbrogan, Bandon, a mother of a five-year-old was also convicted of the Section 3 assault charge while her sister Natasha Walsh, aged 20, of the same address, had changed her plea, after watching the CCTV footage at an earlier hearing, and admitted the charge.
A fifth accused, Rita O’Driscoll from Roughgrove, Bandon, charged with a lesser common assault charge, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing this week, and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.
Judge James McNulty, sitting at Kinsale District Court, noted the injured party “may not be an innocent abroad” but said, on the occasion, she was the innocent victim of a “sustained attack” outside the Armada Bar in the Short Quay area around 2am.
The judge said violent offences on streets, particularly unprovoked assaults, had to be dealt with severely and told all four they were facing jail sentences.
Ms Canty and her mother Sinead were socialising in the Armada Bar where the five accused were also present.
Solicitor Eamonn Fleming said Natasha Walsh, after watching the CCTV footage in court, was horrified and upset at her involvement and regretted her behaviour.
The McCarthy sisters and Chloe Walsh, represented by solicitor Daithí O Donnabhain, repeatedly stated “no comment” during garda interviews.
However, qualified veterinary nurse Denise McCarthy said in court there was “history” with the Canty family and said: “I didn’t handle myself the best, I panicked”.
She admitted running into a scrum of people where she saw her sister and Chloe Walsh and started kicking a woman on the ground.
Judge McNulty said the overall incident was a savage attack in which Ms Canty didn’t strike or retaliate. He said kicking someone prone on the ground was vicious behaviour as violence goes.
Sgt Alan Gosnell, who replayed the CCTV footage for the court, said the four- minute affray was a serious violent disturbance.
Mr O Donnabhain insisted there had been a clear conflict of evidence between the accused and the injured party, and noted there was “history” over an incident that occurred a previous weekend.
But Inspector Ger Lacey, prosecuting, said Ms Canty did nothing to warrant the vicious attack in which CCTV evidence showed her head “moving with the force of the kicks” as she lay flat.