All-Ireland winning Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes, “kicked and punched” a man who was lying defenceless on a street, after becoming “upset” that the man had spoken to two females in a nightclub in which he was socialising, a court has heard.
Mr Hayes “fled” from the scene of the alleged “attack”, outside ICON nightclub on Upper Denmark Street in Limerick City, but was arrested by gardaí a short time later, Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.
Two gardaí allegedly witnessed Mr Hayes and others attacking the alleged victim outside the nightclub on October 28th, 2019.
Mr Hayes (25), of Ballyashea, Kildimo, Co Limerick, is charged with one count of assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy (24), of Toureen, Ballysimon, Co Limerick, outside ICON nightclub in the early hours of October 28th, 2019, and two counts of violent disorder.
Mr Hayes’ co-accused, Craig Cosgrave (24), of Caherally, Grange, Co Limerick, is charged with violent disorder inside the nightclub on the same date.
A third accused, Jai Chaudri (22), of Carheeny, Kildimo, Co Limerick, is also charged with assault causing harm to Mr McCarthy and one count of violent disorder outside ICON on the same date.
All three have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
‘It didn’t sit well with him’
Prosecution Counsel, John O’Sullivan BL, told the jury they will hear evidence that Mr McCarthy, whom he described as a “hard working, honest and truthful” qualified carpenter, had been socialising in ICON in the company of Craig Cosgrave, “who at the time, was a friend of his”.
“Cillian McCarthy got talking to two girls, and it appears that Kyle Hayes was upset about this; it didn’t sit well with him (Kyle Hayes),” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“Putting it in plain terms, Cillian McCarthy was set upon by Kyle Hayes and others, and numerous punches were thrown,” counsel added.
Mr O’Sullivan told the jury they will see CCTV footage harvested by gardaí from the nightclub and other local bars and clubs, “which will tell you what happened”.
“It is the prosecution’s case that Kyle Hayes and others pursued Cillian McCarthy outside the nightclub, and that Kyle Hayes attacked Cillian McCarthy on the public street.”
Mr O’Sullivan said Mr Chaudri joined Mr Hayes in assaulting Mr McCarthy, while he lay on the ground, and that Mr Cosgrave had been involved in using or threatening to use unlawful violence against Mr McCarthy, which caused the alleged victim to be in fear for his life.
Mr O’Sullivan said there was no CCTV footage of the alleged attack on the street, but two gardaí, who he described as “very important witnesses” who were on the scene at the time, “will give evidence that they saw Kyle Hayes and others punch and kick Cillian McCarthy while he was down on the ground”.
“You will hear evidence that Kyle Hayes fled the scene and he was captured (by gardaí) a short time later,” counsel added.
Mr McCarthy suffered a number of facial injuries in the incident, including a fracture to his right eye socket.
“None of these accused men had been under any threat whatsoever…and the violence inflicted on Cillian McCarthy was totally unjustified,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
Summing up his introduction, he added: “Cillian McCarthy offended Kyle Hayes by simply engaging in conversation with two girls – that’s it, that’s what started it all off.
“Yes, you might say this was trivial, but sadly the actions of Kyle Hayes and others were not trivial…there wasn’t the slightest justification or the violence inflicted on Cillian McCarthy.”
The trial continues before judge Dermot Sheehan.