Men sentenced for ‘melee’ in city centre bar

A man currently serving a 10 years sentence for the manslaughter of Paul McCauley, was involved in an incident in a city centre bar days after he was charged.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:32 pm
Matthew Gillen at Derry Court on Friday charged in connection with the murder of Paul McCauley. Paul died last year after being left with brain damage following an attack by a loyalist gang while he was attending a barbque with friends nine years ago in the Waterside area of Derry. Picture Margaret McLaughlin © please by-line 08-4-16 see court story

Matthew Brian Gillen, (31), whose address was given on court papers as Kennedy Place, admitted disorderly behaviour on licensed premises and common assault on May 14, 2016.

Gary Heaton, (45), of Gortin Meadows, Gordon Murray, (43), of Bann Drive and Robert Robb, (45), of Cheadle Park, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault on the same date.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard police responded to an ongoing fight in Wetherspoons Bar in The Diamond. Ambulances also attended and several people were taken to hospital.

The incident involved ‘a large group of males’ who threw chairs during the melee and also reportedly kicked a man as he lay on the ground.

There were also reports this group were chanting ‘UDA, UDA’.

Defence solicitor for Gillen, Ciaran Shields, said his client is currently serving a lengthy sentence.

He told the court this incident occurred shortly after Gillen had been charged in relation to Paul McCauley’s murder and there had been ‘extensive press publicity.’

Mr Shields said Gillen had been shouted at when he entered the bar and this had led to the incident.

Defence counsel for Murray, Andrew Moriarty, said his client deeply regretted what had happened.

Catherine Devlin, barrister for Heaton, said it was ‘out of character’ for her client and added that he was ‘very embarrassed’

She said he denied taking part in any chanting and said he was ‘horrified at the suggestion.’

Sean Doherty, defending Robb, said his client was a hard working man.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers said that the case was aggravated by reports of someone being kicked on the ground.

She said the men were ‘very fortunate’ it was being dealt with in the Magistrate’s Court.

Gillen was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 13 months.

Murray had a six month sentence suspended for 12 months and Healey and Robb received similar sentences.

These three men were also ordered to pay £250 compensation each.