Man guilty of assault causing harm while walking huskie dogs in Cork city

Man guilty of assault causing harm while walking huskie dogs in Cork city

"I thought he was dead”, the defendant said in a memo of interview with Garda Agnieska Pizlo. picture: iStock

A man who was walking his huskie dog has been convicted of assault causing harm to another man who was out walking his two bernese mountain dogs.

Martin O’Leary, aged 52, of 125, Commons Rd, Cork, denied the charge of assault causing harm to Stephen Casey, who is in his 40s. However, judge Marian O’Leary convicted O’Leary of the assault and adjourned sentencing at Cork District Court. Mr Casey is to prepare a victim-impact statement.

Martin O’Leary was walking his huskie while Mr Casey was walking his two bernese mountain dogs when the incident occurred on June 22, 2021. Mr Casey testified that O’Leary struck him across the back with a stick and also hit him in the head.

O’Leary claimed that the injured party had no control over his dogs. “My dog was on the ground. I had to defend him. I was trying to defend my dog. I was afraid for my life.

“I think there is no way I would have hit him [Mr Casey] with my stick. 

"He left his dogs go and punched me in the face. He grabbed me. There was a struggle. I did not hit him with the stick. My dog was lying on the ground. 

"I thought he was dead”, the defendant said in a memo of interview with Garda Agnieska Pizlo.

Defence solicitor, Michael Quinlan, asked the accused man to account in court for what happened at Dublin Hill Industrial Estate.

He said he had walked that area for seven-and-a-half years and that there was plenty of space and fields to leave his huskie off for a run.

“I didn’t take notice of anyone until Mr Casey came towards me. I clenched the dog [on the lead] close to me… His two dogs, two rottweilers, just charged in on top of my dogs. My dog is not a fighting dog. The two of them attacked him. I defended him with my stick. He had no control over the two of them. My dog was being attacked from both sides.

“I defended my dog as much as I could. I lost grip on my dog. He [the injured party, Mr Casey] punched me in the eye, headbutted me in the nose and grabbed me in a rugby tackle and we ended up going headfirst into the railings. 

"I thought my dog was dead on the ground. He gathered up his two dogs and walked away,” O’Leary testified.

Denying he assaulted Mr Casey, O’Leary said: “I am not the type of person who would want to be hitting someone. I had to defend my dog.”

Judge Marian O’Leary was told that the injured party’s dogs were bernese mountain dogs and not rottweilers.

Inspector Pat Murphy cross-examined the accused and put to him a line from his own statement to gardaí where he said: “I started hitting the dogs as much as I could. The man was trying to defend his dogs.”

The defendant said: “There is no way I would have hit him with a stick. My stick fell on the ground. He punched me in the eye and headbutted me in the face.”

Insp Murphy showed the defendant photographs of injuries sustained by Mr Casey, including two long parallel red lines, each line running across the injured party’s arm and back.

The inspector said in another line in his statement, O’Leary said: “I think there is no way I hit him with my stick.”

The inspector emphasised the fact that he used the word, ‘think’. The defendant replied: “That is a ‘mis-word’, I should have said I did not hit him with the stick.”

Judge Marian O’Leary concluded: “I find the state has reached the threshold to prove Section 3 assault.”

This section of the Non-fatal Offences Against the Person Act relates to a charge of assault causing harm.

Inspector Murphy said that Mr Casey wanted to prepare a victim-impact statement.

The judge adjourned the imposition of penalty until February 13 for that purpose.

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