Politician’s son avoids jail for lighting firework in Copper Face Jacks

Oliver Callely, son of Ivor, ordered to perform community service in lieu of prison sentence

Oliver Callely was standing on a balcony overlooking a crowded smoking area when he lit the firework which took off and got stuck between a man’s arm and body.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Oliver Callely was standing on a balcony overlooking a crowded smoking area when he lit the firework which took off and got stuck between a man’s arm and body. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The son of former politician Ivor Callely has been ordered to perform community service in lieu of a prison sentence for lighting a firework in Copper Face Jacks nightclub.

Oliver Callely (28) of St Lawrences Road, Clontarf, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to igniting fireworks at the nightclub on Harcourt Street on July 6th, 2015.

Callely was standing on a balcony overlooking a crowded smoking area when he lit the firework which took off and got stuck between a man’s arm and body.

Judge Karen O’Connor, who heard evidence in the case last December, on Friday ordered Callely to do 240 hours of community service over a 12 month period in lieu of a two year prison service.

Dean Kelly BL, defending, previously told the court that earlier that day Dublin had beaten Mayo in a football replay and his client had drunk a great deal.

The court heard they were sell-out games and that the nightclub was very crowed, with hundreds if not thousands of people.

The victim was in the smoking area when he saw a spark and heard a bang before realising he had “caught on fire”.

He patted himself down and said it wasn’t sore at the time. He said he began to feel pain a little later and he was treated by the nightclub’s on site medical centre.

The next day he still felt in pain and was referred to A&E by his GP and was treated in the burns unit. He attended the burns unit eight times over the next two months.

The court previously heard Callely had the firework from earlier in the day when fireworks were being lit during the football game.

Extradition warrant

Callely was arrested after coming to a garda station by arrangement. He made no comment during interviews and a file was sent to the DPP.

He left the jurisdiction prior to being charged and took up work in the US. He was later arrested under an extradition warrant and spent just under a month in a federal facility.

Sgt Niall Murray previously told the court that Callely described to him his time in US custody and it sounded “very brutal”.

In an impact statement the victim said that the injuries have impacted his sports career and he still experiences itchiness and discomfort where he was burned.

He said Callely’s actions were dangerous and could have had much worse consequences but he didn’t wish Callely to go to prison.

Mr Kelly said his client’s behaviour was a “moronically stupid and dangerous act” and “it was reckless as opposed to having any intention to cause harm,” he said.

He said his client had had a troubled and difficult family life and his parents are separated.

Counsel said that Callely had not enjoyed a positive relationship with his father and he had experienced difficulties as a result of his father’s public profile.

No defence

Mr Kelly said on Friday that Callely had given €6,500 to the victim in addition to the unconditional offer of €1,000 he brought to the last court appearance.

Defence counsel said the €2,500 bail surety would also be made available to the complainant when it was returned.

Judge O’Connor said she was not told about the €6,500 being made available to the victim until Friday and it was not influencing her decision.

She said Callely had had opportunities in his life that most people before the court had not been lucky enough to have, such as a food on the table, a home, a very good education and a supportive family.

Judge O’Connor, noted that Callely had a difficult relationship with his father and it was not easy for him in school having a father with a high profile.

She said drinking was no defence to his behaviour but accepted lighting the firework in the nightclub was reckless but not a targeted attack.

Judge O’Connor said the maximum sentence was five years before ordering Callely to do 240 hours community service in a 12 month period in lieu of a two year prison sentence.

The judge, following sentencing, told Callely that it was his last chance and he was old enough to know better.