The former brother-in-law of a Mohill man was convicted of assaulting him by kicking him twice in the groin.
Cathal Heeran, Drumgowla, Mohill assaulted Tadhg McHugh on August 3, 2019 at Gortnalougher, Cloone.
Mr McHugh said he was leaving his son home at about 10.30 that night when he noticed a car pass by, driven by Cathal Heeran. When he returned home and turned in his gate a car pulled up near his entrance. He got out as he thought it was someone looking for directions.
Mr McHugh said as he got out Cathal Heeran came from behind his van and kicked him twice in the groin.
He said when he got out Mr Heeran said a few things to him like, ‘I’ll kill you if I ever see you round my place again’ and something like ‘I’ll stick a pitchfork in you.” Mr Heeran then turned and drove off.
He said he called the Gardai in Mohill and went into the station a couple of days later to give a statement.
Mr McHugh said he was in pain that night and the next day went to the hospital in Sligo. He had a swelling in his groin area and had blood in his urine. He was given painkillers and told to take it easy and rest.
Asked by Inspector Collins why Mr Heeran did it, Mr McHugh said he didn’t know. He said they don’t like one another and he just wanted him to leave him alone.
In cross examination by solicitor for Mr Heeran, John McNulty, Mr McHugh was asked why he told Garda Prior that night, and in his statement, and in account he gave to the hospital, that he was kicked three times.
Mr McHugh said it was twice. He said he didn’t know why. Mr McNulty said he knew why, because it was lies.
Mr McNulty also put it to him why there was a discrepancy about the time the alleged assault occurred as he told the Gardai that it occurred at 11.30pm.
He described it as “a fiction of a story” and how Mr McHugh wasn’t able “to recall what lies you told.”
Mr McNulty further put it to him that his account in court was “different in every material respect to the account in your statement”.
Mr McHugh was unsure which actual day of the week the assault occurred when questioned by the judge and by Mr McNulty.
He said it occurred on the weekend before Cloone Show which is on the Bank Holiday Monday.
Cathal Heeran, in his evidence, said he went to a wedding with his partner that Saturday in Castletown Geoghegan. They left at 8.30pm and returned home to her house in Kilclare. He lay down for a while and left at 10.30pm and drove home and went straight to bed.
Asked by Inspector Collins if his route home took him past McHugh’s, he replied no. He did, however, say they were coming in opposite directions and could have passed each other. Mr Heeran said he didn’t pass anyone on the road that night.
He denied assaulting Mr McHugh. He said he lost power in his two legs in March and was on a crutch well into the summer and could not lift his legs.
Judge Kilrane said Mr McHugh’s evidence was impressive. He said it was not perfect but sometimes that in itself is impressive.
He said he made some errors about the date but it was a Bank Holiday weekend and he could understand a mistake of that nature.
He said it was important that Mr Heeran travelled the same route as Mr McHugh that night. He said it was strange for him to remember not meeting any vehicles that night.
“This is either a complete and utter fabrication or it’s true, and I find that it’s true,” said the judge.
Mr McNulty said his client “absolutely denies this happened.” Mr Heeran is separated and lives close to his mother. He has suffered health and alcohol issues in the past and has dealt with them successfully.
Judge Kilrane said there was some ill will and what caused that, he didn’t know.
He said it was a pity Mr Heeran “didn’t come into court and tell the truth because he knows the truth, that he did assault Mr McHugh.”
He added it was never too late to give an apology.
The judge said that because the parties are related and come from the same area he didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.
He applied the Probation Act, section 1.2, a peace bond, for two years, on his own bond of €300 not cash.
Judge Kilrane applied a condition that he stay away from and not interfere with Mr McHugh for two years.
He warned Mr Heeran that a breach of the bond would have very serious consequences for him.
“If you so much as touch a hair on the head of Mr McHugh you will go to prison,” he warned.
He again left it to Mr Heeran if he wanted to say anything to Mr McHugh. He said he didn’t.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal at €300 cash. A certificate of free legal aid was granted.
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