Man jailed for assault at centre of Sargent resignation

A man has been jailed for four months for an assault which was at the centre of a dispute that triggered the resignation of former Junior Minister Trevor Sargent.

A man has been jailed for four months for an assault which was at the centre of a dispute that triggered the resignation of former Junior Minister Trevor Sargent.

Travel agency worker Dominic McGowan (aged 31), then a constituent of Mr Sargent's in north Co Dublin, became embroiled in a row with neighbour Stephen Mulvany (aged 35) in September 2007.

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

He reported 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 2009, Mulvany, a father-of-three, was convicted at Balbriggan District Court of threatening and abusive behaviour and assaulting Mr McGowan. He received a €500 fine and a four-month prison sentence

Mulvany was given bail to bring an appeal of the severity of the sentence to the Circuit Court in Dublin.

However, when the case was called today, defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe explained to Judge Gerard Griffin that “my instructions are to withdraw that appeal”.

Judge Griffin affirmed the district court's four-month sentence order. Mulvany, who was not required to speak, remained silent during the brief proceedings.

The assault victim, Mr McGowan, had been convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour and fined €500.

He had told former 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 last year after accepting that he made “an error of judgement” in contacting gardaí about the case involving his constituent.

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