From the Manchester Evening News
Reality TV star Paddy Doherty’s sons have been spared jail for their roles in a ‘Wild West’ street brawl between feuding Gypsy clans.
Brothers John, David and Simon Doherty received suspended prison sentences and orders to complete unpaid work in the community. Five other men were also spared immediate imprisonment over the mass punch-up. Judge Martin Rudland compared scenes to a ‘classic Western pub fight in a Western movie’. But he spared the defendants jail, saying he did not want to ‘take any steps that are going to enhance any feud or bad feeling’ or ‘rub any salt in any wound’.
The brawl took place outside Manchester magistrates court in the city centre last June. It followed a court case involving Big Fat Gypsy Weddings star Doherty, 52, and his cousins John and Dougie Joyce, who were accused of attacking him in a fight outside the PC World store in Ancoats. Doherty almost had his ear bitten off in the disturbance. Members of the Joyce, Doherty and Ward families watched the proceedings from the public gallery then ‘squared up’ in front of shocked passers-by outside, Manchester Crown Court was told.
The court heard the violence flared for three minutes and was caught on camera. Two of the men were injured but no one else. Police were called and all eight were arrested. John Doherty, 24, of Duchy Caravan Park, Salford, admitted affray. He was jailed for eight months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 180 hours of community service. David Doherty, 27, also of Duchy Caravan Park, admitted a public order offence. He was jailed for four months, suspended for 12 months. Simon Doherty, 32, of Riverside Caravan Park, Queensferry, Flintshire, north Wales, pleaded guilty to affray. He was jailed for eight months, suspended for 12 months, with 90 hours of community service. Thomas Ward, 37, of Charlton Place, Leeds, admitted affray and was jailed for six months, suspended for 12, with 100 hours of community service. John Joyce, 33, and boxer Alan Joyce, 26, both of Martindale Crescent, Middleton, admitted affray. Both were jailed for six months, suspended for 12 months, with 100 hours of community service. Thomas Joyce, 34, of Whalley Road, Middleton, who is also a boxer, admitted affray. He was jailed for eight months, suspended for 12 months, with 150 hours of community service. Dougie Ward, 18, of Aspull Common, Leigh, admitted a public order offence. He was sentenced to complete a 12-month youth referral order.
Speaking to all eight defendants Judge Rudland said: “There is about some of you a certain charm, a hard-working nature. The pre-sentence reports speak well of most of you despite some of you having appalling criminal records. In recent times, you have kept out of trouble. “This incident arose as a result of geography. You were all in the wrong place at the wrong time. What brought you together was the events surrounding an assault on Patrick Doherty. He is a figure not without notoriety. Emotions were heightened.”
The court was told that there was ‘no bad blood whatsoever’ between the families and the men embraced each other before they walked into court. But the judge hit out at a ‘shocking display of aggression in public’. He added: “With feelings running high, you all emerged from court in various ways and in various groups. The public were going about their lawful business.
They were presented with the spectacle of you squaring up to one another and giving vent to the feelings that you had just witnessed in court. Not one of you gave a thought to other members of the public.” Judge Rudland said the brawl ‘blew up in a flash of a moment’ and gave all eight a warning over their future conduct. *Following the original brawl at PC World, Paddy Doherty, of Flintshire, north Wales, admitted affray and was given a 51-week suspended sentence. Johnny Joyce, 21, of Cherry Avenue, Openshaw, admitted the same charge, and was jailed for 15 months. Dougie Joyce, 23, of Cherry Avenue, Openshaw, admitted a public order offence and was spared jail.