Assault victim says she was accused of kissing a man in a public house

It is every drivers and every parents nightmare - Judge Marion OLeary
A JUDGE handed down a four month suspended sentence to a man found guilty of assaulting a woman in Charleville.

A JUDGE handed down a four month suspended sentence to a man found guilty of assaulting a woman in Charleville.

Brian Morrissey, aged 37, of Church View, Banogue, denied assaulting Anne Lysaght at Smiths Lane on September 11, 2011.

Ms Lysaght said after getting a phone call she met a friend in O’Connell’s bar in Charleville. Morrissey, his girlfriend Lorraine Fitzgerald and two more were also there.

“I got a drink and went to the smoking area where they were socialising. I saw the owner of the bar ask Lorraine Fitzgerald and Brian Morrissey to leave. We left and proceeded to go to Dinny’s. I had one or two drinks,” said Ms Lysaght, who then left with two of the party to go home.

As they drove up Smiths Lane, Ms Lysaght said the car was flagged down by Lorraine Fitzgerald.

“Lorraine proceeded to open the car door and hit me one or two punches saying that, ‘I had kissed Brian Morrissey in the bar’. I got out of the car and got another box or two. I hit back in defence. At this time Lorraine was saying, ‘I had kissed Brian Morrissey in the bar’. I said, ‘That is lies’.

“Brian Morrissey was standing there with a pint glass in his hand. I said, ‘You’re nothing but a liar, that never happened’ and with that Brian Morrissey hit me into the side of the head with a pint glass. I was bleeding, I fell to the floor having been punched and glassed. He proceeded to kick my head,” said Ms Lysaght.

Sergeant Mark Daly asked her about her injuries.

“I had cuts and bruises to my face - one big chunk out of my neck, lumps and bruises. I am in and out of hospital since for head injuries. I am also on medication.

“I have been for CT and MRI scans. I have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress. I am waiting on a consultant in Cork for migraines,” said Ms Lysaght. Photographs taken by the investigating garda, Anthony O’Connor, were handed to Judge Marian O’Leary.

Mark Nicholas BL, defending, expressed his sympathies with Ms Lysaght on the “horrific assault”.

“My case is, it was not committed by Brian Morrissey. It was committed by Ms Fitzgerald. She has been charged and she has pleaded guilty,” said Mr Nicholas.

Sgt Daly interjected to say the case was contested and Ms Fitzgerald was found guilty.

Mr Nicholas said the car Ms Lysaght was being driven in was a two door car which she accepted.

“I don’t know whether it was the back door or the front door. All I know is I got punched,” said Ms Lysaght, who agreed with the barrister that she was in the back seat.

Mr Nicholas said Ms Fitzgerald will say that Ms Lysaght leapt out of the car and the person in the front seat had to move it forward ‘to let you out to engage in the fight’.

“Not possible,” said Ms Lysaght.

“You punched Ms Fitzgerald?” said Mr Nicholas.

“Yes, in defence,” said Ms Lysaght.

“During the fight the marks to your face arose from your face being on the ground,” said Mr Nicholas.

“Incorrect,” said Ms Lysaght.

Mr Nicholas put it to her that she ran at Mr Morrissey - punching, kicking and screaming.

“Never happened,” said Ms Lysaght.

“He merely pushed you away,” said Mr Nicholas.

“No,” said Ms Lysaght.

Morrissey took the stand and said after the car stopped Ms Fitzgerald was talking through the passenger window to the two people in the front seats.

“Anna [Lysaght] threw a punch over the seat at Lorraine,” said Morrissey.

Mr Nicholas asked what was the status of the relationship between himself and Ms Lysaght at the time. Morrissey said that he and Ms Lysaght were “just friends”.

“Before that?” asked Mr Nicholas.

“We would meet on and off,” said Morrissey.

He said the person in the passenger seat pulled it forward for Ms Lysaght to get out.

“Anna [Lysaght] jumped out and headed straight for Lorraine. They proceeded to fight - pulling each other’s hair, slapping each other. It ended up on the ground,” said Morrissey.

After the fight was stopped, Morrissey said Ms Lysaght ran at him “screaming, kicking and punching”.

“I pushed her away from me,” said Morrissey, who denied having a pint glass in his hand.

“I was after leaving the pub at that stage,” said Morrissey, who said he didn’t punch or kick Ms Lysaght. Sgt Daly asked Morrissey what happened after he pushed Ms Lysaght?

“She fell backwards,” said Morrissey.

“How hard did you push her,” asked Sgt Daly.

“Hard enough to fend somebody off,” said Morrissey.

The last witness was Lorraine Fitzgerald who said that after the car pulled up she and Ms Lysaght began “having words”.

After the car seat was pulled up to “let her [Ms Lysaght] out we started fighting” said Ms Fitzgerald.

“I was boxing her and kicking her. I had bruises too. Both of us fell to the ground, then we were pulled apart,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

Sgt Daly put it to her that Morrissey hit Ms Lysaght with a pint glass.

“False,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

Judge Marian O’Leary said she had listened to both sides.

“Brian Morrissey by his own admission pushed her and she fell. On the basis of the evidence I find him guilty of assault,” said Judge O’Leary, who also referred to the photographs.

Mr Nicholas asked that any prison sentence be suspended.

“There has been no difficulties between the parties since,” said Mr Nicholas.

Judge Marian O’Leary fined Morrissey €500 and imposed a four month suspended sentence. Recognaissance was fixed in the event of an appeal.

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