PROMINENT solicitor John Devane avoided a criminal conviction for assault after a court was told he had made a €1,000 contribution to the Saint Vincent de Paul.
Earlier this month, judge Patrick Clyne found “the facts proven” after Mr Devane, 50, of Quinlan Street was prosecuted for assaulting his colleague John Herbert on June 9, 2011.
During a hearing, Mr Herbert said he was approached by Mr Devane near the custody area in the district court that afternoon, when Devane extended his hand to him and asked him to ‘forget about what happened’ the previous week, in reference to the earlier altercation.
Mr Herbert said he told him in a dismissive manner, ‘forget it’, as he did not believe that Mr Devane’s request was genuine.
The pair left the court-room and were standing in the hallway where it was alleged that Mr Devane attempted to head-butt his colleague and grabbed him by the throat.
Mr Herbert told the court he kept his hands in his trouser pockets throughout the entire incident, as he was attempting to exercise self-discipline.
Mr Devane claimed that Mr Herbert’s reply to his offer was “Go f*** yourself”, which was denied by Mr Herbert.
At Limerick District Court, state solicitor Michael Murray questioned Judge Clyne’s decision to dismiss the case against Mr Devane.
He submitted that under the rules of the district court, he was not entitled to make such an order. “The law would suggest you are constrained to either dismiss (the case) under the provisions of the Probation Act or you must record a conviction,” he said.
However, Judge Clyne disagreed saying there are “lots of procedures open to the district court.”
The judge added: “I was informed the contribution was paid and I dismissed the case on its merits.”
Last month, Mr Devane was acquitted of a separate charge of assaulting John Herbert during an incident on May 25, 2011.