Hurling star Kyle Hayes found NOT guilty of assault but guilty of violent disorder

The jury of seven men and five women reached unanimous decisions after deliberating for over four hours.

Kyle Hayes at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Brendan Gleeson

Cillian McCarthy

Kyle Hayes

David Raleigh

Five time All Ireland winning Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes has been found guilty of two counts of violent disorder - one inside Icon nightclub and one count outside the nightclub, on October 28,2019.

Kyle Hayes acquitted of assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy outside the nightclub on the same night.

Craig Cosgrave acquitted on a single count of violent disorder.

The jury of seven men and five women reached unanimous decisions after deliberating for over four hours.

Mr Hayes, (25), was accused of having been part of a “mob” that “chased”, “punched”, “stamped” and “kicked” Cillian McCarthy, (24), during a “vicious and sustained attack” outside the Icon nightclub, Limerick City, on October 28, 2019.

The four-time All Star hurler was also alleged to have punched Mr McCarthy on the dance floor of the nightclub after having earlier squared up to him and Mr McCarthy’s friend, Craig Cosgrave, (24).

The prosecution claimed Mr Hayes was upset at this because one of the women was seeing a friend of his.

Mr Hayes denied these accusations, and specifically one count of assaulting Mr McCarthy, causing him harm, as well as two counts of violent disorder.

Mr Cosgrave, from Caherally, Grange, Co Limerick, who allegedly threw punches on the dance floor while trying defend himself and Mr McCarthy, was acquitted on a single charge of violent disorder in the club.

Cillian McCarthy

Earlier in the trial, Judge Dermot Sheehan told the jury to discharge themselves regarding charges against Jai Chaudri (22) of Carheeny, Kildimo, who was accused of assault causing harm to Mr McCarthy, and one count of violent disorder.

The jury in the trial of Mr Hayes, who denied assault and violent disorder, was asked by his barrister to “give him his life back” after he said the All Star hurler had waited four agonising years for the case be brought to trial.

Mr Cosgrave (24) from Caherally, Grange, Co Limerick, who was alleged to have thrown punches on the dance floor while defending himself and Mr McCarthy, was charged with violent disorder in the club, but was acquitted.

Two gardaí told the trial they saw Mr Hayes kicking a male on the ground outside the Icon nightclub.

One of the gardaí, Detective Garda Dean Landers, said he told Mr Hayes to remain where he was, and that Mr Hayes broke free from his grip and ran away.

Detective Garda Landers said he “chased” the Limerick hurler, repeatedly shouting at him “Gardaí, stop” but he kept running.

The detective eventually caught up with Mr Hayes and arrested him.

During interviews with gardaí, Mr Hayes denied assaulting Mr McCarthy. He admitted running away because he said gardaí were “roaring” at him.

He told gardaí he eventually stopped running because he thought running away “made me look guilty”.

Another witness, Christopher Heelan, told the court he saw Mr Hayes “punch” and “stand on” Mr McCarthy outside the Icon.

Mr McCarthy gave evidence that Mr Hayes approached himself and Mr Cosgrave in Smyths Bar earlier on the night and and warned them to “stay the f**k away” from two females, who both men were friends with and chatting innocently with.

Kyle Hayes

Mr McCarthy said Mr Hayes later “charged” towards him on the dance floor, and punched him in the head a number of times.

He told the jury that CCTV footage they had seen “clearly” showed Mr Hayes “punching me”.

Mr McCarthy said he was chased and tripped outside the club and that Mr Hayes and others stamped on, kicked and punched him while he was on the ground.

In his closing address to the jury, prosecution counsel John O’Sullivan BL, said it was “clear” that Kyle Hayes was the “aggressor” on the night, and Mr McCarthy was not a threat to the hurler.

Mr O’Sullivan said Mr Hayes’ “outburst of violence” on the dance floor could “not be justified”.

He suggested that Mr Hayes “ran off” after the alleged assault outside the club, “because he knew he was in trouble and he knew he had assaulted Cillian (McCarthy)”.

“Kyle Hayes was part of a deliberate and vicious attack on Cillian McCarthy,” he said.

He said Mr Hayes’ “credibility” was “greatly undermined” by his responses to gardaí following his arrest.

Counsel for Craig Cosgrave, Seamus Roche SC, told the jury: “Whatever force Craig Cosgrave used, it was not unlawful, it was justified.”

“He (Mr Cosgrave) perceived his friend to be in imminent danger.”

Mr Roche said Mr Hayes acted aggressively towards Mr Cosgrave in Smyths Bar.

He suggested that CCTV footage, which was shown to the jury, appeared to show Mr Hayes grabbing Mr Cosgrave by the head on the dance floor and saying something to him.

Mr Roche said Mr Cosgrave did not engage in violent disorder, and had acted out of “concern” for himself and and Mr McCarthy.

“He (Mr Cosgrave) went in self-defence of his friend. It was what any good friend would do, it was the honourable thing to do.”

Mr O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said the state head proven its case against the two accused.

He said punches allegedly thrown by Mr Cosgrave on the dance floor “could not be justified”.

Mr Hayes’ barrister, senior counsel Brian McInerney, said Mr Hayes denies all of the charges.

He offered that, had Mr Hayes and others been kicking and stamping on Mr McCarthy “where are the injuries to support that”.

He suggested Mr McCarthy was “angry” on the night and “started this”, and that Mr Hayes had tried to defend himself in the club.

He said CCTV footage shown to the jury appeared to show Mr McCarthy being “thrown out” of the club by security staff.

“Kyle Hayes was not thrown out - what does that tell you?” he asked.

In conclusion, Mr McInerney told the jury: “I give to you the life of Kyle Hayes - whatever happens, this trial and verdict will follow him into the grave, whether it is a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

“This has been hanging over Kyle Hayes for four long years - I ask you to give him back his life.

“Take back this chalice of torture from his lips, and return him the bosom of his family.”

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