Judge Olann Kelleher said the issue was not whether or not they would avoid a conviction but whether they would be jailed.
He decided at the end of the sentencing hearing at Cork District Court that they could each do 200 hours of community service instead of four months in prison.
Jack Murphy, aged 21, of 11 Foxford Close, Lucan, Dublin, Brian Quinn, aged 25, of 40 Kingswood Castle, Kinngswood, Tallaght, and Peter Dennis, aged 24, of 9 Kingswood Castle, Ballymount, Dublin, were ordered to do the community service having been convicted previously on the charge of engaging in violent disorder.
Inspector Gary McPolin said the incident occurred at 3am on September 23, 2016, at Sullivan’s Quay, Cork, in what started as a dispute over a fare.
Insp McPolin said a number of taxi drivers restrained the three young men at Sullivan’s Quay until gardaí arrived.
The driver said that he was assaulted. The inspector said the entire incident was captured on CCTV. Sher Ahmed was about to be sworn in to give victim impact evidence but this was not done when the judge was reminded that Ahmed was also an accused person in the case. He too faced a charge of engaging in violent disorder.
Insp McPolin said that in effect it was a case of three versus one. Judge Olann Kelleher said: “This was a man going about his business and they were beating the lard out of him.”
Barristers Jessica Bartak-Healy, Sian Langley and Kitty Perle, defending Murphy, Dennis and Quinn, respectively, and stressed their absence of previous convictions and the fact that what happened on the night when they were in Cork for a training programme was totally out of character.
It was previously stated that Jack Murphy was seen fighting Sher Ahmed, aged 39, of 37 Aisling Lawn, Ballincollig, Co Cork, and that Dennis and Quinn joined the assault on Ahmed on the ground.
Ahmed was fined €300 for his part in the violent disorder. The inspector said whatever happened in the car he was seen outside the car throwing the first punch. He said one of the youths also sustained a bite mark.
Ahmed’s solicitor Georgina O’Halloran said Ahmed was working as a taxi driver in Cork for three years but since moved back to the UK. Ms O’Halloran said this was out of character and he had no previous convictions.
Judge Kelleher acknowledged that Ahmed suffered serious injuries on the night.