A father of six has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for “pasting” another man up to 20 times with a shillelagh during a “savage, vicious and sustained” attack inside a pub in Longford over four years ago.
Edward ‘Blondie’ Stokes (32) Ferriskill, Granard, Co Longford was handed down a three year jail term with the final six months suspended for violent disorder at Longford Circuit Criminal Court on Friday.
Stokes was found guilty on Wednesday of what Judge Kenneth Connolly said was a “frenzied” assault on 27-year-old part time farmer John Baxter at Kane’s Bar, Main Street, Granard, Co Longford on October 7th, 2018.
He was also handed down sentences of two years and three months and 18 months for endangerment and the production of an article respectively, all of which are to run concurrently. A fourth count of affray, meanwhile, was taken into consideration.
“This was a particularly savage, vicious and sustained assault on Mr Baxter by Mr Stokes and other persons present that involved about 20 or more blows to Mr Baxter’s person with an article,” said Judge Connolly, adding he believed the blunt instrument used to be a shillelagh. “It also seems to be the case that the shillelagh was wielded in a frenzied and repeated manner that showed total disregard for the health and well-being of Mr Baxter who got a pasting in Kane’s Bar on the day in question.”
Mr Baxter sustained cuts to his head, bruising to both arms and legs after being left in a pool of blood on the floor of the north Longford pub.
In a statement to gardaí, Mr Baxter said he had been drinking in Kane’s pub. At about 1.30pm, the court heard how Mr Baxter was allegedly set upon by two men, one of whom was Stokes.
Video footage of the near three minute incident was played to the jury during trial which showed Mr Baxter picking up a stool to defend himself as two men attacked him.
He said the men later left the pub before two men, including the accused, re-entered armed with weapons and attacked him.
Judge Connolly said the sentences handed down were being done so on the basis of extensive mitigation offered up to the court by Barry White SC, counsel for Stokes.
They included a letter handwritten by Stokes which, Judge Connolly said, carried an “absolute ring of genuine remorse”, testimonials from a local financial services firm and a homeless charity.
Judge Connolly said the court had to, despite Stokes’ 17 previous convictions, factor in how his incarceration would deprive him of witnessing the imminent birth of his seventh child and impact the day to day running of his car sales business.
He directed Stokes to enter into a 12 month peace bond as part of the conditions of the suspended part of his sentence.