Eight family members take part in brawl

By Declan Brennan

EIGHT members of a family have each received a suspended four-year sentence for taking part in a violent brawl.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the inter-family row at Oldcastle Park Green, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, involved the use of slash hooks, an axe and a bar.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2

John Stokes Snr (60) and his three sons, John (25), Edward (28) and Martin (31), all with addresses at  Oldcastle Park and Edward Stokes Snr (44) and his three sons Edward (23), Martin (25) and Joseph (19), also of Oldcastle Park, all pleaded guilty to committing violent disorder on January 22, 2017.

The court heard that John Stokes Snr and Edward Stokes Snr were brothers and their sons were cousins.

Garda Niamh Connaughton said that two of the men were armed with large, wooden-handled slash-hooks about 5ft in length, and another man was armed with a bar.

Both groups were threatening to kill each other and to burn caravans out. She said the cause of the fight was unknown and remains unknown.

One man had his ear partially severed, while another suffered a stab wound to his hand. John Stokes Snr, who had armed himself with a slash-hook, suffered a head injury and was treated in hospital for a suspected bleed to his brain.

Gardai had to deploy pepper-spray on some of the men and maintained a presence at the scene after breaking up the fight.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said that the men had lost control of themselves on the day and said there were children present at the scene.

He said in the 18 months since there have been no incidents.

Judge Martin Nolan complimented the garda who investigated the case. He said all families had their problems, but that the men had behaved disgracefully and had let themselves down by resorting to “savagery”.

“Can this court trust that when a problem arises again you won’t resort to this behaviour again?” he said.

He said they all knew each other and probably grew up together.

“You all behaved equally as badly, but you all appear to be civilised men,” he said.

He said they had all expressed remorse and there was no great purpose to be served in imprisoning them all.

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