Showjumper guilty of deceit fails to turn up for sentence after fall

Michal Kearins (36) of Knockbeg, Collooney, Co Sligo suffered ‘a minor injury’, court hears

A judge heard today that an international showjumper who was due to be sentenced following his conviction for deception was not in court, because he fell off a horse in the United States.

Michal Kearins (36) of Knockbeg, Collooney, Co Sligo, was found guilty by a majority verdict last April.

Sligo Circuit Court heard that a businessman bought a pony called Buddy off him but had a different pony called Spot delivered to his Majorca home.

Judge Francis Comerford was presented with documentation from Palms West hospital in Florida on Thursday, stating that Mr Kearins had suffered “a minor injury” following a fall from a horse.


Ms Dara Foynes SC prosecuting said she had been informed on Wednesday that the accused had been thrown from a horse in the United States and had suffered a head injury. Counsel said that following his conviction last April the defendant had been enabled by the court to travel to the US where he was making his living, pending the sentencing hearing.

“We are six months down the line,” said counsel who pointed out that a compensation package was to be put in place but she regretfully had to tell the court no money had been paid to date.

Counsel also told the Judge that if Mr Kearins was living in this jurisdiction that a bench warrant would be issued. The court heard that according to the hospital documentation , Mr Kearins had been treated at the Florida hospital on November 9th and had been advised not to fly for a week.

Ms Foynes said the defendant’s tickets had been booked and he was due to fly to Amsterdam on November 18th, and was expected to arrive in Ireland on Thursday morning.

Mr Patrick O’Sullivan BL defending said there was no fault attached to Mr Kearins who had his tickets booked. He had fallen off a horse and had been told not to fly. It was a legitimate situation and counsel asked that the case be put back to the next sittings of the court.

Jude Comerford said the medical report showed that the accused suffered a “minor injury” and he could not see why the case could not be dealt with in the current sittings. The judge said he could see no medical evidence that the defendant would not be able to deal with the issue either next week or the week after.

“Mr Kearins would not want to be in the position where the court would form the view that he was being elusive,” Judge Comerford added. He adjourned the case to December 5th.

Mr O’Sullivan said his client was not being elusive. He had always turned up and answered bail on every occasion when it was €4,000. An uncle of his had now gone surety for €25,000 so ther was no issue of him being elusive. The accused, had pleaded not guilty last March to a charge of deception between August 24th, 2012 and October 19th, 2012.

The jury was told that Spot was similar in colour to Buddy but was smaller and was very sick and had to be treated with antibiotics for a week , after arriving at the Majorca home of purchasers Sean and Terry Ewing.

Mr Ewing was in court for Thursday’s sitting.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland