Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dublin football star Connolly 'acted despicably', court hears

Diarmuid Connolly
Diarmuid Connolly

Ray Managh

Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly "acted despicably," and "cynically avoided service" on him of personal injuries proceedings alleging he assaulted Anthony Kelly, five years ago, the Circuit Civil Court heard on Friday.

Kelly’s solicitor Robert Dore said Connolly had "brutally assaulted" Mr Kelly in McGowan’s Public House, Phibsborough, Dublin, in August 2012 and had later pleaded guilty in the District Court to a criminal charge under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Mr Dore, of Dore and Company Solicitors, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that arising out of "this vicious assault" in which Mr Kelly had suffered serious personal injury, Connolly had been prosecuted before District Judge Patrick Clyne.

Mr Dore said the case against Mr Connolly had been dismissed on the basis that he had attended an anger management course; that he had done community service by way of coaching children in Gaelic football, and that he had paid €5,000 to Mr Kelly who had directed the money be handed to a charity.

Mr Dore, whose proceedings Friday were brought ex parte where Mr Connolly and M. E. Hanahoe Solicitors were not represented in court, told Judge Linnane that on April 24, 2015 the Injuries Board had made an assessment of damages against Mr Connolly in favour of Mr Kelly for €46,815.

“Given the serious nature of the injuries sustained by (Mr Kelly) he declined this assessment,” Mr Dore said in a sworn affidavit fully opened to the court.  “Ultimately an Authorisation under Section 32 of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Acts….authorised (Mr Kelly) to bring proceedings against Mr Connolly.”

Mr Dore said a personal injuries summons against Mr Connolly was issued in the Dublin Circuit Court on November 25, 2015 and on March 15, 2016 he had written to M.E. Hanahoe solicitors, enclosing a copy of it and asking that they would confirm they had the authority to accept service of the summons on behalf of Mr Connolly.

On the following day, Mr Dore said in his sworn statement, M.E. Hanahoe had replied that they had written to their client for instructions and would revert.  On April 22, 2016 he again wrote to M.E. Hanahoe stating that as they had failed to revert, personal service on Mr Connolly would be affected.

“I spoke with Michael Hanahoe on a number of occasions, most particularly in early September 2016 regarding service, and he asked me to hold off serving proceedings until the All-Ireland football final had taken place in which (Mr Connolly) was playing on the Dublin team,” Mr Dore said.

Mr Dore said he firmly believed that M.E. Hanahoe had authority to accept service and wrote to them again on October 28, 2016 asking them to endorse acceptance on behalf of Mr Connolly.

“I was most surprised and taken aback to receive a letter from M.E. Hanahoe… stating they could not accept proceedings on his behalf,” Mr Dore said.  The original summons was returned without acceptance of service.

Mr Dore said that on November 8, 2016 he sent, by registered post, the personal injury summons to Mr Connolly at Collins Park, Collins Avenue, Beaumont, Dublin 9, the address furnished by M.E. Hanahoe. It had been returned marked “not known at this address.”

Mr Dore told the court that on November 14, 2016 he again wrote to M.E. Hanahoe pointing out “that the conduct of their client was despicable bearing in mind what was represented to Judge Clyne in the District Court” and the content of their letter to him of April 7, 2014.

“I retained the services of a private investigator who has confirmed to me that (Connolly) does not reside at Collins Park, Collins Avenue, Beaumont, Dublin 9 but in fact resides at Clanranald Road, Donnycarney, Dublin 5,” Mr Dore stated.

Mr Dore added:  “In circumstances where (Mr Connolly) has deliberately thwarted  (Mr Kelly) in advancing his proceedings, by cynically avoiding service of the proceedings on him, despite his assurances to the District Court on foot of which a prosecution against him was dismissed,” he asked the court for an order extending time for service of the personal injury summons on Connolly.

Judge Linnane said she had no problem renewing the personal injuries summons (which claims damages of up to €60,000) as against Mr Connolly for another six months and extending time for service of it by registered post on Mr Connolly at the Donnycarney address.

The judge was told that the second defendant in the case, Cavalier Taverns trading as McGowans, had already been served with legal proceedings and had entered an appearance indicating their future participation in the case.

In the District court in 2013 Connolly, then 25 years old, pleaded guilty  to assault causing harm to Mr Kelly in McGowans pub in the early hours of August 6 2012 . Through his solicitor, Michael Hanahoe, he issued an unreserved apology to Mr Kelly who suffered a fractured eye socket during what was described as “an unprovoked attack” in the pub.

The attack happened shortly after Dublin had defeated Laois in a quarter-final of the All-Ireland Senior Football championship.

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