Judge Seamus Hughes has accepted jurisdiction for an alleged assault which took place in a Ballinamuck pub last summer.
Pub owner, James Conboy, of Gaigue, Ballinamuck, Co Longford, appeared before a recent sitting of Granard District Court charged with assaulting Daragh McPartland in June, 2019.
Giving his evidence in court on Friday, May 15, Mr McPartland explained that he and a number of his friends were drinking in the bar. They had been at a party the night before and met up at the pub the next day.
Answering questions from Judge Hughes, Mr McPartland explained that the group went back to a friend’s house after the party, went to bed and were drinking in Drumlish early the next day.
“We were in Quinn’s bar, Drumlish, from 1pm for nearly the whole day,” he explained, adding that they left Quinn’s and got a lift to the 98 Bar in Ballinamuck at approximately 6pm. They stayed there for the night, he said.
“At about 10.30pm or 11pm, I was walking out from the toilets and I turned off the switch for the lights,” Mr McPartland said, explaining that the lights went off in the bar as a result.
“I kept walking straight ahead of me and James (Conboy) came out from behind the bar and grabbed me by the back of my t-shirt and tried to pull me out the door,” he continued.
“I stopped and tried putting my head back. He was in front of me. I got away and he tried to grab my t-shirt and when I put my head down, I got a blow to the nose.”
“Who injured you?” Judge Hughes asked.
“I think it was James Conboy,” Mr McPartland replied.
Sgt Paddy McGirl, for the state, noted that Mr McPartland had not been in court before and “might not be familiar” with court.
“He spent 48 hours drinking and the person in court is the barman. His lights were turned off by a lad who was drunk for 48 hours. How is it possible that this has come to court?” Judge Hughes asked.
“In his statement, he said he got ‘a box to the nose’, which resulted in a broken nose,” said Sgt McGirl.
“He said he ducked down and hit his nose. What hit you?” Judge Hughes asked of Mr McPartland.
“I think it was that man’s fist,” said Mr McPartland, gesturing towards the defendant.
“But have you a clear recollection?” asked Judge Hughes.
“I cannot say,” said Mr McPartland.
Judge Hughes accepted jurisdiction, stating that this “is not a case for the Circuit Court”, setting a date for hearing on June 19, 2020.
Sgt McGirl explained that there will be two more witnesses for the prosecution.
“His drinking friends,” Judge Hughes remarked.
Bríd Mimnagh, on behalf of the defence, explained that she will also have a number of witnesses.
“We have five witnesses but they’re fishermen who come every year from the UK. They’re not coming this year because of Covid-19 but if they have to come over they will,” she said.
“We also have a number of older people who don’t want to get involved but will if they have to,” she added.
Judge Hughes explained that Ms Mimnagh can cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses on June 19 and, if defence witnesses are needed after that, their evidence can be heard at a later date.