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Swinford men who assaulted couple appear before court

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Swinford men who assaulted couple appear before court


Two Swinford men charged with assault after a couple were set upon in the town appeared before Castlebar Circuit Court on Tuesday last.
Anthony Moran (22), formerly of 28, Brabazon Heights, Swinford and Eamonn Howley (33) of 22, Brabazon Heights, Swinford had both appeared before the court last year and had the matter put back for a year to monitor their behaviour.
Howley pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Stephanie Murphy and Gerard Prendergast on June 19, 2011 on Main St, Swinford while Moran pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Gerard Prendergast.
Moran also pleaded guilty to two charges of damaging property when he damaged the exterior door at JP Bookmakers, Market St, Swinford by throwing a rock at it on April 16, 2011 and broke a window at Wavelengths Hairdressers, Main St, Swinford on May 8, 2011 by putting his fist through it when attempting to strike someone.
The assault occurred at 12.30am on June 19, 2011 when Mr Prendergast was attacked by a group of males on Main St, including Howley and Moran. He was knocked to the ground by Moran, who then kicked him a number of times. Ms Murphy threw herself on top of her boyfriend to attempt to protect him and Howley kicked both Mr Prendergast and Ms Murphy as they were on the ground.
Last year the court heard that Moran had been told Mr Prendergast had, earlier that night, thrown a glass at Moran’s cousin, who was pregnant. The incident proved to be untrue. Mr Prendergast was left unconscious and had bruising to his face but suffered no long term damage.
Both men pleaded guilty in court last year. The court heard that Moran has since appeared in court in Westport charged with a public order offence and that matter has been adjourned to September.
Eoin Garavan, counsel for Moran, instructed by Brendan Donnelly, said Moran was pleading not guilty to the public order charge. He said Moran had fallen out with his family and was essentially homeless for much of the last year, moving from house to house but had recently been provided with his own accommodation by the St Vincent de Paul.
Mr Garavan said Moran’s Probation Report for the last year ‘isn’t terribly bad’ and his life is now ‘a bit more stable’. Judge MacCabe said he would adjourn sentencing to January next, saying he has a three year sentence in mind but may suspend part or all of it, depending on how Moran behaves and how he engages with the Probation Services in the interim. Judge MacCabe warned Moran this was his ’last chance’.
Diarmuid Connolly, counsel for Howley, instructed by Brendan Donnelly, said that the court had given his client a chance to prove himself last year and that he has ‘grabbed the ball with both hands and ran for the line’. He said at the time of the incident Howley was drinking a lot after the breakdown in a relationship but has given ‘exemplary commitment’ to reforming since, has negative urine analysis for alcohol and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous. He also had €2,000 in court by means of compensation for the victims.
Judge MacCabe said he was ‘impressed by his [Howley’s] engagement with the Probation Services’ and imposed a three year jail sentence, suspended in full for two years and ordered Howley to stay under the supervision of the Probation Services for two years or as long as the Probation Services consider necessary.