Resident pro at Rory McIlroy's home golf club acquitted of GBH

Holywood Golf Club's resident pro acquitted of grevious bodily harm.

Andy Roberts's picture
Thu, 31 Oct 2019

Resident golf professional Stephen Crooks at Holywood Golf Club in Northern Ireland - the home course of Rory McIlroy - has been acquitted of grevious bodily harm, according to the Belfast Telegraph

Following three hours of evidence at Newtownmards Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Crooks, 40, was acquitted of causing GBH to Michael Sinclair on St Patrick's Day last year.

According to what was heard in court, Mr Crooks had been drinking in the golf club with Mr Sinclair before a fight broke out with Mr Crooks punching Mr Sinclair in the eye and fracturing his eye socket. 

The report claims Mr Sinclair had been invited by Mr Crooks to watch Ireland play a Six Nations match in the club from 2pm. 

The pair then came to blows at around 10.30pm, with Mr Crooks shouting loudly in the ear of Mr Sinclair and threatening him with physical violence. Mr Sinclair pushed Mr Crooks, to which Mr Crooks then responded with a punch to the eye. 

Mr Crooks told the court he had become upset when Mr Sinclair - who apparently once had a lesson from Mr Crooks in 2015 - had criticised Holywood Golf Club, the club team and his competence as a golf professional. 

According to the report, Mr Crooks gave evidence claiming he considered Mr Sinclair's words a "personal attack" on himself but denied shouting in Mr Sinclair's ear. He told the court he whispered in Mr Sinclair's ear and had felt scared by being pushed, so he punched him. 

Judge Hamill said criminal cases have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. 

"The defence don't have to prove anything, I have to be convinced by the prosecution version of events," said Judge Hamill.

McIlroy's home course Holywood Golf Club is located just seven miles outside of Belfast and has breathtaking views of Belfast Lough and the Antrim Coast. 



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