A 57-year-old Cork man’s trial by judge and jury for assault came to a sudden end today when the complainant said he was getting married to the accused man’s daughter.
A jury of eight men and four women was sworn in today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court after Michael Foley of Teadies Upper, Enniskeane, County Cork, pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.
The charge stated that on October 30/31 2017 he allegedly carried out an assault causing harm to David O’Neill.
Prosecution barrister, Brendan Kelly told the jury that they would have to decide the case on the evidence they heard in court.
The foreman of the jury asked Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin if they could be supplied with paper and pens to take notes. The judge said it would be better to listen and not take notes as it would be a short case.
The alleged injured party David O’Neill was then called as the first witness.
Mr O’Neill, who is aged around 30, was sworn in to give evidence and immediately declared, “I want to withdraw my statement because we are back friends and I’m engaged to his daughter. We are friends. It is all a misunderstanding.”
Judge Ó Donnabháin explained to Mr O’Neill: “You know if you don’t give evidence the case is over and this man will be found not guilty.” The witness said he understood that.
The judge then directed the jury to find the accused not guilty by direction of the trial judge. “It is a cumbersome way of dealing with it but once it starts I have no other way of dealing with it,” the judge said as he thanked the jury and apologised for the inconvenience to them.
The judge added as the jurors left Courtroom 4 at Anglesea Street courthouse: “You can see now why I was reluctant to give you pens and paper.”