Friends cleared of all charges in appeal of County Limerick case

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

The men have been cleared of all charges after appealing the district court case where they were found guilty on a number of counts

The men have been cleared of all charges after appealing the district court case where they were found guilty on a number of counts

TWO LIMERICK men have been cleared of all charges after appealing the district court case where they were found guilty on a number of counts.

In Kilmallock Court last July 2017, Brendan Hennessy, aged 34, of Ballinanama, Kilfinane was found guilty of affray and assault causing harm. Michael Heffernan, aged 33, of Main Street, Kilfinane was found guilty of affray. The complainant - David Stanton, aged 23, of High Street, Kilfinane had a charge of assault thrown out.

It took up to seven hours to hear the case over two days in June 2017. Judge Marian O’Leary adjourned sentencing until the end of July 2017 to consider her decision. Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan had pleaded not guilty to all charges and were defended by solicitor, John Herbert.

After finding Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan guilty, Judge O’Leary said she would strike all matters out against them if €1,900 compensation was paid to Mr Stanton for medical expenses. And if they paid €750 each to the court poor box on the affray charges and Mr Hennessy paid a further €500 on the assault causing harm charge.

Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan appealed this judgment. During the appeal last month in Limerick city the case was heard in its entirety again. Judge Tom O’Donnell dismissed the affray charges against Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan, and the assault causing harm charge against Mr Hennessy.

Mr Stanton told the original court hearing in Kilmallock last year that on October 2015, 2015 he was grabbed by the throat in Tread na Ri, Kilfinane by Mr Hennessy after they had exchanged words.

Mr Hennessy said Mr Stanton was kicking plants out of a flower box late at night and Mr Hennessy told him, ‘What did the flowers ever do to you? Go away, go away fast’. Mr Stanton denied damaging flowers.

Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan said they were never in Tread na Ri on the night in question. Later that night, Mr Hennessy said he was walking Mr Heffernan home when they were pushed in the door of Mr Stanton’s house by a number of men. Mr Stanton said they “burst in”.

Mr Stanton said he was punched by Mr Hennessy, resulting in a cut lip, three stitches, chipped tooth which cost €1,900 for a cap that is “not guaranteed to stay”.

Mr Hennessy admitted striking him but in self defence after Mr Stanton “grabbed a knife”. Mr Stanton said there was no knife.

Former Bruff Superintendent William Duane put it to Mr Hennessy he wanted to confront “these blow-ins for causing damage” to the flower boxes. He denied this.

Mr Herbert, solicitor for Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan, said: “A drunken rabble attacked them and they are the ones charged with assault and affray.” This was denied by Mr Stanton in Kilmallock Court.

After the district court appeal concluded at 4pm on June 14, 2018, Judge Tom O’Donnell said he would consider his verdict overnight.

On the following morning, Judge O’Donnell said based on the evidence before him he had to have a “doubt” and dismissed all charges against Mr Hennessy and Mr Heffernan.