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Footballer Anthony Stokes fined €230k for headbutting Elvis impersonator at Buck Whaleys

Stokes was not present in court nor was he legally represented at the hearing.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRISH INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALLER Anthony Stokes must pay €230,000 in damages to an Elvis Presley impersonator he headbutted and seriously injured in a Leeson Street nightclub.

A jury at the High Court, after deliberating for just over 90 minutes, unanimously found that the 28-year-old Blackburn Rovers footballer had assaulted 53-year-old Anthony Bradley.

The jury found that Bradley was entitled to general damages, aggravated damages, and damages to cover the cost of medical expenses already paid for by Bradley totalling €230,000 for the injuries he sustained.

Stokes must also pay Bradley’s legal costs.

Bradley sued Stokes seeking damages after he was headbutted by the player in the VIP Lounge at Buck Whaleys Nightclub, in Dublin’s Leeson Street on the early hours of 8 June 2013.

Stokes, who has won nine caps for Ireland and has played for clubs including Celtic, Hibernian, Sunderland before joining Blackburn last summer, was not present in court nor was he legally represented at the hearing.

He had lodged a defence to denying Bradley’s claims. However before the trial started the Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh heard Stokes had discharged his legal team earlier this month and was aware the case was listed for hearing.

Counsel for Bradley John O’Donnell SC, appearing with Conor Bowman SC, said Stokes had informed his client’s solicitor that Stokes would not be attending because the footballer’s partner was due to give birth.

This was the same reason Stokes had given in relation concerning his attendance at criminal proceedings late last year counsel added.

Opening the case O’Donnell said the “unprovoked attack” on his cleint by Stokes was “nasty and cowardly”.

As a result Bradley had suffered both physical and psychological injuries and was “not the man he had been before the incident.”

Conor Bowman SC said that the injuries Bradley sustained were “serious”.

In his evidence Bradley, from Ballyfermot in Dublin, said he was at the nightclub when a person spilled drink on him.

While he was dealing with this person and telling him “it was ok” Stokes then appeared and headbutted him. He said he “did not know” if that other person and Stokes knew each other.

The bouncers at the club removed Stokes. Bradley said he required medical attention and there was “a lot of blood.”

In his evidence he said that he suffered injuries including a broken nose, and damage to his teeth. He later developed problems with his neck. It was accepted in court that he had a pre-existing undiagnosed condition which caused the issue with his neck but Bradley said the assault exasperated it.

He had surgery and dental procedures at home and overseas, and has been having ongoing treatment for his neck pain. He will require further medial and dental treatment in the future.

While the teeth and nose could be fixed he said it was the problems with his neck that “worries me most.”

He had performed as an Elvis Presley impersonator for many years, but since the assault he was unable to do this anymore.

He had also given up his job at the Gresham Hotel, in Dublin. He agreed with counsel that he also suffered from psychological problems and suffered from sleepless nights.

He said that Stokes never apologised to him. He said he had been approached at his home by Anthony Stokes mother and was contacted twice by the player’s sister before the criminal trial.

He said he explained to them that matter was “out of his hands” as it was the State who was bringing the criminal prosecution against Stokes.

Following the jury’s decision the Judge said that Bradley was entitled to his legal costs.

While he took a “dim view” of Stokes non attendance he declined to award costs against the footballer on a solicitor-client basis, the highest level possible.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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