Kerry County Councillor given suspended sentence for assault

A Kerry County Councillor has received a suspended prison sentence for assault.

Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae and his brother Kevin of Sandymount, Kilgarvan, who are sons of Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae, were convicted of two charges of assault causing harm  relating to incidents which occurred on December 28th, 2017 in Kenmare.

Malachy Scannell of Inchacoosh, Kilgarvan was also found guilty of two charges of assault and one charge of criminal damage relating to the same incidents.

All three men were sentenced in Kenmare District Court today.

24-year-old Jackie Healy-Rae and his 22-year-old brother Kevin assaulted Kieran James at both Main Street and East Park Lane, Kenmare, in December 2017.

The assaults took place following an altercation at a chip van, where Kevin Healy-Rae had allegedly told the injured party, “This is my town, this is my chip van.”

34-year-old Malachy Scannell assaulted both Mr James and Cornelius O’Sullivan; he also broke the latter’s glasses.

Mr James earlier told the court he had two operations since the incident – following a broken nose – and an injection to combat shoulder pain.

During sentencing in Kenmare District Court this morning, character reference letters were handed into the court; however, Judge David Waters returned one as it had asked him “to deal with matters in a certain way.”

The judge said the assault where Mr James received a broken nose was pre-meditated, and that Jackie Healy-Rae and Malachy Scannell had acted as enforcers when they followed the injured party onto Main Street.

Judge Waters cited the mitigating and aggravating factors: he said the assaults were pre-meditated, it was not simply a one-punch assault, the victim suffered serious injuries and the accused men’s versions of events didn’t hold up when compared with CCTV footage.

However, in mitigation, he said a previous road traffic conviction by Malachy Scannell was minor and of no significance.

The judge noted the two Healy-Raes had no previous convictions and the character references were favourable.

He said, had they previous convictions, a non-suspended custodial sentence would be the result.

He imposed an eight-month sentence on Jackie Healy-Rae, a seven-month term on his brother Kevin and a six-month sentence on Malachy Scannell.

Judge Waters then suspended all sentences in full for a period of one year.

Cllr Healy-Rae made no comment in reply when asked if he will step down from his role with Kerry County Council.

Kevin Healy-Rae at Killarney District Court