Nightclub row with soccer star was just 'drunken handbags', court told
A row between Republic of Ireland international soccer star Jeff Hendrick and another man was just "drunken handbags", according to his barrister.
Mr Hendrick and a co- accused, Jonathan Doran (26), have both denied charges of committing violent disorder at Harcourt Street, Dublin, on October 12, 2013.
Mr Doran is also charged with assault of Darren McDermott causing him harm at the same location and has denied this charge.
Mr McDermott has given evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Hendrick (25) dragged him from a taxi outside a nightclub shortly after a verbal row inside the club. He said he ended up on the ground and received kicks to his head, face, chest and back.
Under cross-examination by Sean Gillane SC, defending Mr Hendrick, Mr McDermott said he couldn't recall becoming a menace or a nuisance to Mr Hendrick's group.
He said he couldn't recall Mr Hendrick saying "will you ever f*** off out of our group?" He accepted that Mr Hendrick did ask him to leave the group and said he didn't know why.
He said Mr Hendrick had become aggressive. He said he instead asked Mr Hendrick "what the problem was".
"I was trying to calm him down, will he relax?," he testified. He said that Mr Hendrick "by all means...could have left if he wasn't happy".
Mr Gillane put it to the witness that this was a case of "drunken handbags between two people in a nightclub which is run of the mill". The witness agreed and said if it had ended at that moment he probably would never have thought of it again.
Counsel said Mr Hendrick continued to shout at Mr McDermott and bouncers came over and Mr Hendrick was knocked to the ground. The witness said bouncers tackled Mr Hendrick to the ground and then ushered him out of the club.
Mr McDermott said some minutes later he left the nightclub himself and agreed there were more "verbals" outside.
Counsel said that his client was shouting "you f***ing ruined my night" and put it to Mr McDermott he "returned fire" and said to him "who the f*** do you think you are?"
Mr McDermott said he may have said that but said there was no aggression coming from him.
Mr Gillane said this was "more drunken handbags, fellas shouting at each other in drink, sadly a run-of-the-mill experience".
Mr McDermott previously testified that after getting into a taxi, Mr Hendrick and others surrounded the car. He said Mr Hendrick pulled him out of the taxi and said to him, "I'll kill you."
He denied a suggestion by Mr Gillane that he had never given evidence of this threat before and denied he had "introduced" the words as part of an "agenda" to "blacken" the footballer's name.
He said it was a complete lie to suggest Mr Hendrick didn't pull him out of the taxi.
Mr McDermott denied he was out to get revenge on Mr Hendrick, but added: "I blame him for everything that happened. He was the aggressor, he was the one who pulled me [from the taxi]".
The witness agreed that months after the incident he may have sent Mr Hendrick messages online saying, "I'm looking forward to ending your career" and "I'll dance on your brother, your mother and your dad's head, you're a scumbag".
He said he wasn't a violent person and that the messages were unrepresentative of him. Counsel put it to Mr McDermott that on the same day he sent the message, his solicitor wrote to Mr Hendrick claiming damages. The witness said he wasn't sure of the date but he agreed he was suing the footballer and the nightclub for damages.
Mr Hendrick, originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, Dublin, but now living in the UK, and Mr Doran of Kilmore Close, Artane, deny the charges.
The trial continues.