‘I didn’t know why I was in hospital’

Gerald Fitzgerald: Told court he had no recollection of incident.

A 49-year-old man who received “devastating” injuries in a fight at his home yesterday told a jury that he had no memory of the incident almost four years ago.

Gerald Fitzgerald, who also has a brain injury, was giving evidence at the trial of his two nephews at the Circuit Criminal Court, in Tralee, Co Kerry.

“I woke up in hospital, but I didn’t know why I was in hospital,” he said.

Robert Kelly, aged 32, of Ogham Rian, Tralee, and his brother, Tommy Kelly, aged 34, of Marian Park, Tralee, have pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Fitzgerald, causing him serious harm, at 38 Mitchels Rd, Tralee, on November 8, 2011.

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Both have denied inserting a tennis racquet into his rectum.

The three men had been drinking together in Tralee on the day in question and returned to Mr Fitzgerald’s house, where they had more drinks that evening and a row developed, the court has heard.

Mr Fitzgerald was admitted to the emergency department at Kerry General Hospital in Tralee at 8.45pm, on November 8, having been brought by ambulance from his home. He was unconscious, had head injuries, and was in a bloodied state.

Called as a prosecution witness on day 13 of the trial, Mr Fitzgerald said he was in a coma and spent three or four months in hospital. He had a brain injury and his whole body was injured.

Cross-examined by Garnet Orange, for Robert Kelly, Mr Fitzgerald agreed there was a row and that he was living with the consequences. Asked if it started between Tommy Kelly and himself, he said he had no recollection of that.

When it was put to him that Robert Kelly did not cause him serious injury by forcing a tennis racquet up his back passage, Mr Fitzgerald replied: “I have no comment whatsoever.”

Cross-examined by David Sutton, defending Tommy Kelly, Mr Fitzgerald said he had no recollection of what happened that night and did not know who caused him serious harm.

Medical evidence was read to the court by Tom Rice, the prosecuting counsel.

Consultant Martin Boyd, who was on duty at the hospital’s emergency department on November 8, said in a report that, following Mr Fitzgerald’s admission, he was treated and stabilised. After discussions with the neurological team at Cork University Hospital, he was transferred there at 1am on November 9.

Consultant general surgeon Tom McCormack said in a report that Mr Fitzgerald had sustained devastating injuries and had been left with facial and skull scars, as well as a risk of bowel and bladder problems.

He had suffered “very significant” head injuries, bruising to the brain, and perforations to the bowel and bladder, which were secondary to a sharp object being forcibly inserted into his rectum, the court heard.

Each of these injuries could fall under the category of causing serious harm, as defined in law, Dr McCormack added.

Other medical evidence read to the court by Mr Rice included that Mr Fitzgerald had swelling and bleeding of the brain, nose fractures, multiple rib and chest fractures, and liver bruising.

The trial continues.

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