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Construction worker cleared of allegations he ‘keyed’ his boss’s car after being let go from his job

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Swords Court

Swords Court

Swords Court

fingalindependent

A construction worker has been cleared of keying his boss's car the morning after he was let go from his job.

Martin Power (39), Ringfort Place, Balrothery denied damaging the passenger side door of Site Manager Martin Craddock's car at Station Manor, Balrothery on July 3, 2020.

The court heard the pair didn't have a good relationship and Power had been let go from his job the day before.

On the morning of the incident he had come to the site to make a complaint to Martin Craddock's boss.

Witness Daniel McGinley, who was at work on the site on the day in question, told Swords District Court he had been walking down the stairs when he looked out the window and saw Martin Power appear to "rub his hand" along the passenger side of Martin Craddock's car.

He said he couldn't see what exactly was in the defendant's hand because he was carrying "a load of stuff" including clothes, boots and a bag.

"I shouted down: "What are you doing?" and he said: "I didn't key that car", Mr McGinley told the court.

Asked by the defence solicitor how he could have seen him scratch the car if the defendant's hands were full, Mr McGinley said he didn't know what was in Power's hand but said he could have had something concealed.

He agreed Power's hands were full at the time but said he had seen the defendant rub his hand along the side of the car.

The defence solicitor said what he was saying in court differed from what he had alleged in his statement when he claimed to have witnessed Martin Power scratch the car with what looked like a stone.

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Site Manager Martin Craddock told the court he received a phonecall from Daniel McGinley who told him he had seen Power at Mr Craddock's car and when they went down to look at the vehicle there was a key mark on the passenger door which was about two foot long.

Asked by the solicitor for the defence how he knew it wasn't there before, Mr Craddock said it was clearly a fresh scratch.

The solicitor put it to Mr Craddock that the pair didn't have a good relationship and he agreed this was the case.

"If you asked him to do something he wouldn't do it," Mr Craddock said.

The solicitor said the defendant would say Mr Craddock was bullying him but the witness said this was not the case.

Garda McCartney told the court a report about the alleged criminal damage incident was made shortly before 8pm when it was alleged that Daniel McGinley observed Martin Power scratch the car belonging to Martin Craddock.

The scratch on the car measured between 14 and 16 inches long and did appear to have been done by a sharp object, he said.

In his evidence to the court, Martin Power said he had been let go from his job the day before.

He said Health and Safety had come onto the site and there was a big skip full of mortar and cement which Martin Craddock wanted him to move from one skip to another.

"I said no and that evening I got a call from the agency to say I was let go. He didn't even ring me himself."

He said on the morning of the alleged incident he went to make a complaint to Mr Craddock's boss.

Power said he was walking across the car park when he heard Daniel McGinley shout: "I saw what you did".

"I said you saw nothing because I didn't do anything," he told the court.

The defendant said at the time his arms were full as he was carrying a large amount of stuff including rubber boots, a jacket, a hard hat and a coffee.

"I couldn't lift my hand", he said.

Power denied scratching the car and said he would never do anything like that.

When it was put to him that it was very unusual he had walked directly by his ex-site manager's car Power said he didn't know what car Martin Craddock drove.

Dismissing the case, Judge John Brennan said there was an element of doubt as Daniel McGinley had said in his evidence he couldn't see exactly what was in Power's hand because he was carrying lots of items.

Judge Brennan also highlighted the discrepancy between the size of the scratch which Martin Craddock said was two foot long but the garda described as between 14 and 16 inches. He said in addition, Power had given sworn evidence that he didn't know which car belonged to Mr Craddock.

The judge said he had to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty.

"I have doubt and in those circumstances I'm going to dismiss the matter," he said.


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