Schoolboy rugby players spared jail after admitting roles in street brawl

Two rugby players from a prestigious private school who were involved in a mass brawl have avoided a jail term.

Schoolboy rugby players spared jail after admitting roles in street brawl

Scott Flood Wiley, now aged 21, and Evan Lewis, now aged 22, were celebrating the victory of their school, Clongowes Wood College, in the Leinster Schools Cup when they got involved in a fight involving around 20 men.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard gardaí were later able to identify the pair by going through the Clongowes yearbook and finding their pictures.

Flood Wiley of Adelaide St, Dun Laoghaire, and Lewis of Coppinger Close, Stillorgan, but originally from Ennis, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to affray on Lower Rathmines Rd on Mar 20, 2011.

Garda Mary Brophy told prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacy BL a large number of current and former Clongowes students were in Tramco nightclub in Rathmines.

Another group of youths, including Graham Bennett and Ryan Hatfield, were at a 21st birthday in the club.

Mr Hatfield was involved in a verbal row with some Clongowes students in the smoking area before his group left the club and went to a nearby fast food restaurant. They again ran into the group of students, who began shouting abuse.

Mr Hatfield’s group walked on until he “felt a dig in his right ear”. A fight then broke out.

Mr Bennett fell to the ground during the struggle. He was unable to stand up afterwards and heard a “popping sound” when he tried. He was taken to hospital where he was found to have a Bosworth fracture to his leg.

Flood Wiley and Lewis’s defence counsels said their clients had nothing to do with causing Mr Bennett’s injuries, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Judge Carmel Stewart discharged both men on condition that they keep the peace for two years, under the 1907 Probation of Offenders Act. If they breach the peace in that period, they can appear before the court again to be sentenced.

She said she was doing this due to the character of both men, the extenuating circumstances, and the time since the offence.

They will both have a conviction, which will they will have to bear for the rest of their lives, she noted.

Judge Stewart said this was a serious public order offence and that this type of incident was all too common. She told both men they had put themselves and their families through an ordeal.

“There was considerable ambiguity as to who did what on the night,” said Judge Stewart.

She noted both men had expressed remorse over their part in the melee.

Both handed in a reference from the headmaster of Clongowes.

Lewis handed in references from a retired Garda sergeant and a retired army commandant.

Flood Wiley said he may have punched somebody but denied kicking or stamping on anyone.

Lewis, who came to the Garda station voluntarily before his arrest, claimed he got a slap as he left the club and then pushed another male who was attacking his friend.

Flood Wiley has three previous convictions for theft, drug possession, and a road traffic matter. Lewis has not being in trouble with the law before or since.

Counsel for Flood Wiley, Michael Bowman BL, said his client graduated from school and now studies and teaches English in Spain. He said he was a “decorated and honoured” rugby player with his school.

He said he foolishly got involved in the fight “out of misplaced loyalty” and will now have a conviction for the rest of his life.

Breffni Gordon BL, representing Lewis, said he was a keen sportsman who has completed his degree in UCD and intends to go on to complete a masters. Counsel said he intends to go into law and this conviction will “trip him up at every stage of his life”.

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