So said Hilary Quinlan's attorney in court today. The former mayor of Waterford City, charged with brawling at a family wedding, was not present, but his legal representative was. Mr. Quinlan would like the charges dropped, please, and let bygones be bygones. Water under the bridge. No harm, no foul.
McLean County prosecutors have offered a plea deal, something unfamiliar to Mr. Quinlan as Irish law does not make allowances for wheeling and dealing in the courtroom. If Mr. Quinlan were to take responsibility for hitting a female wedding guest, the prosecutors have suggested, they could let things disappear from his record. According to attorney Jon Backman, such a deal would be too awkward.
Court supervision would be another option, not unlike going to driving education class to erase a speeding ticket. In Mr. Quinlan's case, his supervision would have to be carried out under the auspices of the Irish courts, as he was allowed to go home to Waterford after he was bailed out. Returning to Bloomington, Illinois would become a rather expensive proposition, what with the cost of air fare and lodging. Possibly someone from the McLean County prosecutor's office could be convinced that a vacation in Ireland, with a side trip to look in on Mr. Quinlan, would be a rather pleasant duty, particularly if the taxpayers covered all expenses.
If the charges aren't dropped, Hilary Quinlan could be looking at 364 days in jail and a fine of $2500, which he would surely like to avoid if at all possible. But that leaves the other option, to admit that he was at fault, that he started it and he's the one to blame for the wedding fiasco.
Given the choice, I'd say it's far more awkward to be jailed for a year than to take the blame for a fight. Mr. Quinlan has until 19 December to decide which he'd prefer, jail time or a slice of humble pie.