Judge tells man caught taking part in boxing session in woods with 14 other men ‘this is how the virus spreads’
A judge has told a Clare man that by participating in a 15-man strong boxing training session in the woods he had allowed the Covid-19 pandemic to continue.
Imposing a one month prison term on Ned Doherty (30) for a public order breach during the first Covid-19 lockdown, Judge Patrick Durcan said his actions were not fair to older people who are living in total fear of Covid-19 “and who have not left their houses in the last 12 months”.
At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Judge Durcan said Doherty’s actions were also not fair to the medical services “or while this country is on its knees economically while dealing with the public health emergency”.
“Fifteen guys boxing training in the woods is how the virus spreads because they can’t be in the one bubble,” he said.
The judge said the facts of the case were “appalling”.
After imposing the one month prison term he said someone who shows such disregard for everyone “must take an appropriate punishment”.
Doherty, a married father-of-four, of St Michael’s Park, Ballymaley, Ennis, pleaded guilty to a public order offence.
A second charge concerning an alleged breach of Covid-19 regulations was struck out.
Gardaí arrived at the scene at Dromore Wood on May 23 last and told the group of 15 to disperse due to Covid-19 health regulations.
Sgt Aiden Lonergan told Judge Durcan that Garda Joe Kearney spoke to the 15 men present and highlighted the health restrictions that were in force at the time.
Sgt Lonergan said Doherty said that “he didn’t have time for this and was losing his sweat” and began sparring with another man.
He said Doherty then asked Gda Kearney for a fight and called him “hatchet face” before he was brought away by members of his family.
Judge Durcan the way Doherty interacted with Gda Kearney was “a hugely aggravating factor”.
Daragh Hassett, solicitor for Doherty, said his client had arranged with a small number of friends to go sparring in compliance with Covid-19 health regulations as Dromore Wood which 5km from his home as the crow flies.
Mr Hassett said that unfortunately word got out and more people came along to the woods.
He said Doherty has struggled with the Covid-19 restrictions “and was out in the open air amongst the trees working out”.
He said his client has a short fuse and there is no excuse for what he said to Gda Kearney, adding that he has since apologised.
Mr Hassett said Doherty did not arrange for the 15 men to be there and pointed out that his client has no previous convictions apart from a few minor road traffic matters.
Doherty was later freed on bail pending the outcome of his appeal against the one month sentence at the circuit court.