Court appearance for man at centre of Sargent resignation

A man at the centre of the row that triggered Trevor Sargent's resignation as a junior minister has appeared at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

A man appealing his conviction for an assault at the centre of a dispute which ultimately led to the resignation of former Junior Minister Trevor Sargent had his case adjourned today.

Travel agency worker Dominic McGowan (aged 31), a constituent of Mr Sargent in north Co Dublin, became embroiled in a row with neighbour Stephen Mulvany (aged 34) in September 2007.

McGowan claimed he witnessed a child trying to remove a road sign in his estate, Cardy Rock Close in Balbriggan

He went to report the alleged act of vandalism to the child's parents but claimed he ended up being assaulted and headbutted by Mulvany, who lived a few hundred metres away in Cardy Rock Square.

In March last year, McGowan was convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour contrary to Section 6 of the Public Order Act, leading to him being fined €500 by Judge Patrick Brady at Balbriggan District Court.

Mulvany, a father-of-three, was convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour. However, he was also found guilty of the more serious charge of assault contrary to Section 2 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

He received a €500 fine and a four-month prison sentence but is now seeking to have his conviction overturned. Today Mulvany was before the Circuit Court in Dublin to appeal against his conviction.

His case was listed for mention before Judge Gerard Griffin this morning and was the first called, however he did not speak during the brief proceedings. State solicitor Aishling Kelly told Judge Gerard Griffin that she was seeking an adjournment of the case. Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe consented to the application.

Judge Griffin adjourned the case until March 25 next for mention.

Dominic McGowan had told Green Party TD Trevor Sargent, and then Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, at a constituency clinic in June 2008 he was unhappy at also being summonsed to appear in court on a charge in relation to the incident.

Mr Sargent subsequently wrote to the prosecuting Garda, saying he believed it was "wholly inappropriate" for a summons to be proceeded with as witnesses for McGowan had yet to be interviewed.

The former Green Party stepped down from his post as Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture on February 23 after accepting that he made “an error of judgement” in contacting gardaí about the case involving his constituent, Dominic McGowan.

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