Judge throws out Limerick city knife case


David Hurley


David Hurley

Judge throws out Limerick city knife case

Judge Marian O’Leary dismissed the case saying she did not believe the State had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt

A MAN who was accused of producing a knife during a fight outside a fast food restaurant was found not guilty after a judge ruled the State did not prove its case.

Thomas O’Donoghue, aged 35, of St Michael’s Court, Michael Street, was prosecuted in relation to an incident at O’Connell Street shortly after 1.30am on April 24, 2016.

In his evidence a security guard at Chicken Hut described how he asked the defendant to leave the premises after a row broke out inside the restaurant between him and another man.

He said Mr O’Donoghue remained outside the front door for a number of minutes and that he became aggressive and confronted the man he had been fighting with as he was leaving.

The witness further claimed that he produced a green-handled “curved pizza knife” from his sleeve and attempted to stab the other man before he (the security guard) intervened and separated them.

Garda Aishling Keohane said when she and a colleague arrived a short time later, they spoke with Mr O’Donoghue after locating him near the junction of O’Connell Street and Roches Street.

Judge Marian O’Leary was told a knife – matching the weapon described by the security guard was recovered near the Augustinian Church.

Cross examined by solicitor John Herbert Garda Keohane said the knife, which was produced in court,  was not sent for forensic analysis or fingerprinted after it was recovered.

Following his arrest sometime after the incident, the defendant insisted he did not have a knife.

“I use my fists to fight not a knife,” he said adding it was “not my style”.

While Mr O’Donoghue can be seen on CCTV footage outside Chicken Hut, the altercation was not captured and no knife could be seen.

Having considered legal submissions, Judge O’Leary said the onus was on the State to prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt and that she did not believe the necessary threshold had been reached.

She dismissed the charge against Mr O'Donoghue.