independent

Friday 20 October 2017

Alleged assault victim fails to show

Trial aborted after main witness doesn't turn up for jury trial

Paul Deering

The trial of a 31 year old man charged with assault causing harm was halted after the alleged victim failed to show.

Gerard Murtagh of 16 Rockwood Mews was charged with assault causing harm to Michael Glynn of the same address on May 17th 2015.

A jury of seven men and five women were sworn in to hear the case but when Mr Glynn failed to turn up, prosecution counsel, Ms Dara Foynes entered a nolle prosequi in the matter.

In the absence of the jury, Garda Farrelly told Judge Keenan Johnson that Mr Glynn had declined an offer of a lift to court from Roscommon to court. His phone was also not being answered and he had given an indication that he didn't want to give evidence.

The Judge put the matter back until 12.30pm and was told by Ms Foynes that the witness's partner had answered the phone and she stated he had set off that morning at 8am to hitch a lift to Sligo. He didn't bring a phone with him.

However, the witness hadn't turned up.

Judge Johnson said he would put the matter back further to 2pm and at that stage he would be predisposed to acceding to a request from defence barrister, Mr Keith O'Grady, instructed by Mr Tom MacSharry, solicitor to dismiss the case.

The court was told that Mr Glynn had been brought to the court by Gardaí the previous week when the case was initially called and a date was set for trial.

Murtagh had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

At 2pm, Ms Foynes told Judge Johnson that Mr Glynn still hadn't turned up and her instructions were to enter a nolle prosequi.

Earlier, the witness's mother said she wished to address the court, that she had seen her son on the night after the alleged assault.

Ms Foynes said Mrs Glynn hadn't been part of the book of evidence and that no statement had been taken from her.

Ms Foynes also pointed out that there was no CCTV evidence in the case and the prosecution's case would have been based on the testimony of Mr Glynn.

Judge Johnson told Ms Foynes that entering a nolle prosequi seemed to be the sensible thing to do in the situation.

He had earlier stated that it was unacceptable for Mr Glynn to fail to turn up.

When the jury was called just after 2pm, Judge Johnson told them that Mr Glynn had failed to arrive that morning and that efforts to contact him since were unsuccessful.

He had left home without a phone and hadn't availed of an offer of a lift from Gardaí. The State were now not going to prosecute the matter and they were no longer required.

The Judge exempted the jury from further service for five years. He said it must certainly have been a frustrating exercise for them but it was the first time something like this had happened in his court.

Sligo Champion

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