Man denies damaging Kildare house over bare knuckle fight row

Way needed to resolve traveller people disagreements says judge

By Leinster Leader Reporter

Reporter:

By Leinster Leader Reporter

Email:

editor@leinsterleader.ie

Man denies damaging Kildare house over bare knuckle fight row

File Photo

A man who denied throwing bricks at the home of another in what the Court was told was part of a dispute over a bare knuckle fight, has been jailed for a total of 20 months for criminal damage and other offences.

Michael Keenan (25), 29 Cardiffsbridge, Avenue, Finglas, denied smashing windows/property at 348 Old Greenfield Maynooth, the home of Simon Stokes, on July 23 2016.

At Kilcock District Court on May 15, Judge Desmond Zaidan jailed Mr Keenan, who had previous convictions, for 10 months for the damage, which involved of smashing windows. He jailed him for a further four months for injuries to Mr Stoke’s five year-old daughter and two months each for thefts of beer from Lidl and Aldi in July 13 and July 14 2016, respectively.

Mr Keenan pleaded guilty to the shop thefts but denied the incidents on July 23 2016.

Simon Stokes said around 10.30pm that day he heard smashing of glass and the screaming of his daughter at his home. He said his daughter was injured. He said on oath he looked out and saw Mr Keenan (a distant relation) in the driveway shouting: “Come out you rats I’m going to kill you.” He said Mr Keenan smashed his car windows, causing €2,000 damage, but he did not have receipts.

Sarah Connolly BL, for Mr Keenan, asked him if he was lying and had affirmed the oath rather than swearing on the Bible, because he wanted to lie. Mr. Sexton owned up to mistakes in statements he made to Gardai, but denied lying saying he believed in Jesus but not God. Mr Sexton, whose uncle is Mr Keenan’s grandfather, said Mr Keenan was “out of his head on drugs...mad angry, violent...a psychopath,” on the night.

Mr Sexton denied that he had made a phone call or that he had a vendetta against Mr Keenan. “I left all that behind. I want justice,” he said.

The Court was told Mr Sexton and Mr Keenan, both members of the travelling communities, had been friends but fell out.

It also heard of an issue over a bare knuckle fight involving Mr Sexton’s brother and Mr Keenan. Judge Desmond Zaidan said the fight was declared “a draw.”

Garda Garvan Kelleher said he had been called to the house by Mr Sexton and took a statement after Mr Sexton’s daughter was taken to hospital. He did not see Mr Keenan at the scene.

Ms Connolly said there were inconsistencies in Mr Sexton’s statement and doubts about the evidence, some of which was “embellished.” Garda Inspector John Costello argued Mr Sexton would not have thrown a brick through his window, injuring his daughter, to bring a case against Mr Keenan.

Judge Zaidan said there had to be a way to resolve disputes in the travelling community.