'Fearsome' samurai sword was swung in 'violent' Limerick tussle

 Judge said incidents were 'totally unacceptable'

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

'Fearsome' samurai sword was swung in 'violent' Limerick tussle

Judge Tom O’Donnell: both incidents were violent and totally unacceptable in a civilised society

A GROUP of men were caught “swinging weapons” in a brawl in broad daylight in Moyross while children were in the vicinity, Limerick Circuit Court has heard.

Brothers David McCarthy, 23, and John McCarthy, 18, of Cliona Park, Moyross, were brought before Judge Tom O’Donnell after pleading guilty to charges of violent disorder in September 2015, and assault causing harm in March 2014.

The two brothers were accused of getting involved in an altercation with a woman — the injured party — and her sister’s boyfriend, Mr X, at a house at Distillery View, Thomondgate, on March 28, 2014, at around 8pm. 

The court heard that there had been “trouble” between the two parties since St Patrick’s Day.

The court heard that the older brother had been “bad-mouthing” the woman’s sister, who was also at the house. He allegedly “had a knife and was attempting to harm people”. She told the accused to “go away you f***ing weasel”.

When the two approached the woman, she grabbed a stick and “broke the stick” off John McCarthy.

The court heard that she was then kicked in the stomach and called a “prostitute”. The injured party told gardaí that she suffered wounds to her hand, and that she required plastic surgery, after a number of divisions in her tendons and damage to two metacarpals.

However, the court heard that no knife was found at the scene, and that she did not remember being stabbed.

Mr X, who awaits a trial in relation to the Moyross incident, said to David McCarthy: “No weapon — all we want is a fair going.”

They then “had a fair going”, the court heard.

One witness told the gardaí that there was a struggle between the two in the house, and that Mr X “got the better of David McCarthy”. It was also heard that one person picked up a pitchfork and caused €200 worth of windscreen damage to a car.

A garda report stated that, thanks to CCTV footage secured on that night, “they were able to recognise the two accused”. They were arrested at a later date.

Prosecuting barrister John O’Sullivan BL said that the case would not have been straightforward without the guilty pleas.

At 4.45pm on September 22, 2015, the two accused arrived at a house in Cliona Park, where Mr X and the resident — another injured party — were. This was incident was captured on CCTV footage. 

The court heard that Mr X ran out with a “fearsome samurai sword” and a walking stick. John McCarthy had a baseball bat while David McCarthy had a hockey stick. All four took the “brawl” onto the road “swinging their weapons, unconcerned by the presence of children” in the vicinity.

The brothers left the scene, and returned moments later to resume the “feud”. After the 18-year-old threw the bat at the injured party, they left the scene. The brothers returned again “but John McCarthy had a new weapon”, the court heard.

The two were arrested on September 25. The court heard that when John McCarthy was asked what had happened, he replied: “I seen [Mr X] and I tried to kill him.”

“You couldn’t get a more frank admission,” Mr O’Sullivan told Judge O’Donnell.

Garda Anne Marie Hackett, of Mayorstone garda station, said that there was a connection between the two incidents.

Brian McInerney BL, defending for John McCarthy, asked the judge to be “as lenient as you can to this young boy”, who was 16 at the time of the Distillery View incident.

He argued that his client should have been brought before the children’s court, and was not charged until 18 months after the incident.

He told the court that the young man had been involved with adolescent mental health and neurological services, and was diagnosed with Klinefelter’s syndrome “at a very young age”.

He added that this chromosomal condition has “an impact on physical and cognitive abilities” and affects his “impulse control”.

He added that his client, who has no previous convictions, was “misguided by family loyalties” and has “no intention” of getting involved with these incidents in the future.

Aaron Desmond BL, defending for David McCarthy, said that he was “filled with frustration and guilt” over the incidents, and missed the birth of his daughter while in custody for 19 months.

Mr Desmond said that the 19 months in custody has “allowed him to reflect and he has said that he must never let this happen again”.

His partner “has found herself in sheltered accommodation with two young children”, the court heard. 

David McCarthy, who has 15 previous convictions, penned a letter which was shown to the judge. Mr Desmond said it is a “clear indication” he won’t reoffend.

After hearing the evidence, Judge O’Donnell said: “No doubt that both of these incidents were extremely violent and totally unacceptable in a civilised society.” He said that he was not in a position to deal with the matter on the day, and that he would revisit for judgement both matters on October 25.