Judge Flann Brennan: convicted Roscrea man of assault
A Roscrea man who assaulted another man in the town is facing jail if he is not suitable for community service.
Christopher Pratt of 3 Ashbury View, Roscrea, pleaded not guilty at Nenagh Court to assaulting Patrick Feighery at Convent Hill, Roscrea, on October 13, 2018.
Fintan Hutchinson, Bay 1 Ashbury View, Roscrea, had the same charge against him dismissed because there was a doubt over whether or not he assaulted Mr Feighery.
Mr Feighery told the court that he was walking up Convent Hill when he saw Mr Pratt and Mr Hutchinson and kept walking “with my head down”.
He recognised both men and Mr Hutchinson was walking a dog.
He said after he passed them he was “given a few slaps” in the face and the side of the head.
He tripped on the kerb and hit his head, leaving him dizzy.
Mr Feighery told the court he believed the attack may have been linked to an ongoing feud in the town.
“We used to be friends years ago. There was no feud until a couple of years ago,” said Mr Feighery. “I am not used to this.”
He said that following the assault, he was reluctant to go out.
Mr Feighery told Insp Ailish Myles, for the State, that he was “not 100pc” about Mr Hutchinson hitting him as he had a dog.
Under cross-examination by Johnny Spencer, for both defendants, Mr Feighery said the initial blows were to the back of his head but then the “boxes started coming quicker”.
He reiterated that he did not see Mr Hutchinson strike him.
Mr Feighery agreed with Mr Spencer that there were no visible marks on him after the assault.
Mr Spencer put it to him that he had not been assaulted.
“There are no witnesses, no injuries. Your motive is because of the ongoing feud,” said Mr Spencer.
Garda Keith Gantly said that he received a call at 3.50pm about an alleged assault and went with Sgt William O’Dwyer to Convent Hill, where he met Mr Feighery.
Garda Gantly said he offered medical assistance to Mr Feighery, but this was declined.
At that stage, Mr Feighery was in the company of two females who declined to make a statement.
Garda Gantly later took a cautioned statement from both defendants.
Mr Pratt said in his: “I never hit him. I walked straight past him.”
Mr Hutchinson said: “I did not hit him at all. I looked at him and he looked at me. That was it.”
Sgt O’Dwyer said that when he met Mr Feighery at Convent Hill he was “anxious to get home” and seemed to be in “some sort of distress”.
Mr Hutchinson told the court that he was walking with his cousin when they met Mr Feighery but there was no contact between them.
Mr Pratt declined to give evidence to the court.
Mr Spencer submitted that there were no witnesses to the alleged assault, no visible injuries. Both men denied the charge and it was only one word against the other.
Insp Myles pointed out that there was an ongoing feud between both parties.
Judge Flann Brennan struck out the charge against Mr Hutchinson.
However, he convicted Mr Pratt of assault.
“The only evidence is of the injured party and there is nothing to contradict that. I am satisfied he assaulted Mr Feighery,” said the judge.
Mr Feighery, in his victim personal statement, said that he seldom went out following the assault.
The court heard Mr Pratt had eight previous convictions, including for assault and affray.
Judge Brennan ordered a probation report for January to see if Mr Pratt was suitable for 100 hours’ community service. If not, he was facing three months in jail.