Letters sought in assault appeal linked to Sargent resignation

A man appealing an assault conviction that was at the centre of a dispute which triggered the resignation of former Junior Minister Trevor Sargent is seeking disclosure of all letters relating to the case.

A man appealing an assault conviction that was at the centre of a dispute which triggered the resignation of former Junior Minister Trevor Sargent is seeking disclosure of all letters relating to the case.

The letters include those by “third parties” the Circuit Court, in Dublin heard.

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 35) 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 head butted 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 and fined €500 at Balbriggan District Court.

Mulvany, a father-of-three, was also convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour and of the more serious charge of assault.

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 for his appeal. His solicitor Mr Michael Hanahoe told Judge Michael White “there are some delicate issues”.

“I am seeking full disclosure including all letters,” he said adding, “including letters by third parties.”

Judge White said the request was reasonable and adjourned the case for four weeks for mention. He also noted that the alleged incident dated back to September 2007 and said “urgency would be required”.

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 that 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 leader stepped down 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.

The revelation has also triggered a Garda probe into the leaking of the information to a newspaper, which led to Sargent's resignation.

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