Men guilty of assaulting woman and her mother

Two men, who had charges of throwing a lighting petrol bomb into an apartment withdrawn against them in the middle of a trial, have been found guilty of assaulting a woman and her mother.

The jury of five women and seven men took two and a half hours to reach their unanimous guilty verdict against each of the accused.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said to the two accused: “Your status has now changed irrevocably.”

The two men were then remanded in custody to appear for sentencing today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Michael Murphy, 32, of 28 Woodfield Hall, Station Road, Blarney, Co Cork, was found guilty of assault causing harm to Laura O’Callaghan outside Soho bar in Cork City.

Detective Garda Kevin McCarthy identified Murphy as the attacker in CCTV evidence from outside the premises which was shown to the jury and which they viewed again in the course of their deliberations yesterday.

Garrett Hill, 33, of 18 The View, Gleann Na Rí, Tower, Blarney, was convicted of assault causing harm to Breda O’Callaghan O’Connell, Laura O’Callaghan’s mother, inside Soho.

When the jury was being sworn in on Monday for the trial which commenced on Tuesday, Murphy stood up to address the judge in the crowded court room.

He said: “My Lord, could I address the court. I hope that when I am found not guilty, the people who made the allegations will be prosecuted for making false statements.”

Hill turned to Murphy and said: “Don’t worry, that’ll happen.”

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin addressed the public gallery the moment before the jury came back with their verdicts and he told them that anyone reacting loudly to the verdicts of guilty or not guilty would be held in contempt of court for the weekend. There was no such reaction when the verdicts were delivered.

Murphy and Hill had gone on trial on several charges but unusually the State withdrew all but one assault charge against each man as the second day of the trial was about to commence.

They had been put on trial initially on charges of making threats and intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct, namely throwing a lit petrol bomb, into the house occupied by Laura O’Callaghan which created a substantial risk of death or serious injury.

Ms Farrelly said to the jury there was not one scintilla of evidence against Hill for this alleged assault. She said not alone had the injured party and others not identified Hill as the person who assaulted her, they told gardaí it was another man whom they named. They also said Hill was doing something else at the time of the assault, Ms Farrelly argued.

Garda Kevin McCarthy said that it was clear to him from the video evidence taken at the scene and shown to the jury yesterday that Hill assaulted Ms O’Callaghan O’Connell and that Murphy assaulted Laura O’Callaghan.

James O’Mahony SC for Murphy said of Garda McCarthy’s evidence: “What if he was wrong? How many times have guards been wrong before. All the evidence of Laura O’Callaghan and her mother and the CCTV should not satisfy he assaulted her. It was probably someone else assaulted her because she caused so much trouble that night.”

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