Scottish footballers avoid jail after assaulting man on Baggot StreetGary Ibbotson 27 Jan 2023
By Eimear Dodd
Two Scottish footballers who carried out a ”shameful attack” during a night out in Dublin have walked free from court after being handed suspended prison sentences.
Liam Callaghan (27) and Craig Johnston (27) both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and obstruction in Dublin City Centre on December 8, 2019.
The court previously heard that the men are both semi-professional footballers with Scottish club Montrose FC.
Callaghan and Johnston have addresses in Fyfe, Scotland and are cousins. They each have one previous conviction from Scotland.
Imposing sentence today, Judge Orla Crowe said the “utterly blameless” injured man had been “attacked by two men who had no reason to come down a road after him”.
The court was previously told there had been an altercation between the victim and a colleague of the two accused men at a late bar on Baggot Street.
Judge Crowe noted there had been no prior interaction between the then 52-year-old victim and the two accused, and what had happened at the late bar had “nothing to do” with Callaghan and Johnston.
Judge Crowe said this was a “shameful attack carried out by two people visiting this country” and the men had “involved themselves in a matter that was at an end”.
She said the assault had serious consequences for the victim, which was an aggravating factor in this case.
Defence counsel told Judge Crowe that both accused had brought €6,000 to court as a token of remorse, which the victim was willing to accept.
Judge Crowe said she took into consideration as mitigation the fact that both men have no previous convictions for violence, are working and are talented footballers.
She noted that both men are very remorseful and have travelled from Scotland to attend all court dates.
Judge Crowe said Callaghan was the “more dominant” of the two men during the attack, having thrown the first punch, but Johnston joined in.
She imposed a two-year prison sentence on both men. Judge Crowe said in the circumstances, she would suspend the sentence in full on condition that both men keep the peace for two years.
She also directed that the gesture of remorse from both men was to be handed over to the victim.