The jury in the assault trial of Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes was asked by his barrister to “give him his life back” after he said the All Star had waited four agonising years for the case be brought to court.
Mr Hayes (25), of Ballyshea, Kildimo, a five-time All-Ireland hurling champion, is accused of being part of a “mob” that “chased”, “punched”, “stamped” and “kicked” Cillian McCarthy (24) during a “vicious and sustained attack” outside the Icon nightclub, Limerick city, on October 28th, 2019. He is before Limerick Circuit Criminal court on two counts of violent disorder and one count of assault and denies all charges.
Mr Hayes is also alleged to have punched Mr McCarthy on the dance floor of the nightclub after squaring up to him and his friend Craig Cosgrave earlier on the night.
Mr Cosgrave (24), from Caherally, Grange, Co Limerick, who allegedly threw punches on the dance floor while defending himself and Mr McCarthy, is charged with violent disorder in the club.
Two gardaí previously told the trial they saw Kyle Hayes kicking a male on the ground outside Icon.
During interviews with gardaí, Mr Hayes denied assaulting Mr McCarthy, but admitted running away from gardaí because he said they were “roaring” at him.
In his closing address to the jury, prosecution counsel, John O’Sullivan, BL, said it was clear that Mr Hayes was the “aggressor” on the night, and Mr McCarthy was not a threat to the hurler.
He said Kyle Hayes’s “credibility” was “greatly undermined” by his responses to gardaí following his arrest.
Counsel for Mr Cosgrave, Seamus Roche, SC, told the jury: “Whatever force Craig Cosgrave used, it was not unlawful, it was justified.”
“He [Mr Cosgrave] perceived his friend to be in imminent danger.”
Kyle Hayes’ barrister, senior counsel Brian McInerney, said Mr Hayes denies all of the charges.
He offered that, had Mr Hayes and others had been kicking and stamping on Mr McCarthy, “where are the injuries to support that?”
He said CCTV footage shown to the jury appeared to show Mr McCarthy being “thrown out” of the club by security staff. “Kyle Hayes was not thrown out - what does that tell you?”
Mr McInerney told the jury: “I give to you the life of Kyle Hayes. Whatever happens, this trial and verdict will follow him into the grave, whether it is a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
“This has been hanging over Kyle Hayes for four long years - I ask you to give him back his life.”
Judge Dermot Sheehan began charging the jury and will resume his charge on Friday morning.
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