A NOTORIOUS criminal has walked free from court after an assault case was dismissed when the alleged injured party told the judge he did not want to proceed with the case.
Willie Moran (50) – a former member of the Keane-Collopy gang in Limerick – had been charged with assaulting Trevor McGuane at John Street, Limerick, on November 12, 2011.
It had been the State's case that Moran punched Mr McGuane on the date in question.
However, when the case was called before Judge Eugene O'Kelly in Limerick District Court yesterday, Insp Seamus Ruane said it could not proceed.
The judge heard that Mr McGuane did not wish to continue with his complaint against Moran of Dromroe, Rhebogue, Limerick.
Mr McGuane was asked to explain why in the witness box, and as he made his way across the courtroom, Judge O'Kelly intervened after observing Moran standing up.
The judge said he was taking exception to the manner in which Moran stood up as Mr McGuane walked past him.
He told defence solicitor John Devane that was not happy with his client and was about to adjourn the case to a later date.
However, Moran successfully protested his innocence and said he only stood up after hearing his case called in the court.
Judge O'Kelly asked Mr McGuane if he was under any pressure or intimidation.
"Not all all," Mr McGuane replied. "I want no trouble. I just want to drop it.
"I want to be in peace. Whatever happened on the day happened. I want to leave it," he said.
The judge explained to Mr McGuane that if he did not proceed with the case yesterday, it could never go ahead.
Mr McGuane said he understood that and said he and Moran would stay apart.
The judge struck out the charge and Moran left the court.
Originally from St Mary's Park, Limerick, Moran has more than 30 convictions.
He was previously afforded 24-hour garda protection after agreeing to testify against former associates in the Keane-Collopy criminal gang. Two months ago, he told RTE that there is a €10,000 contract on his head.
In November 2002, Moran was charged with the murder of Jonathan Edwards (22), of Abbeyvale, Corbally, at St Ita's Street, St Mary's Park, on August 29, 2001. However, the case was later dropped.