Couple convicted of slashing woman


A COUPLE have been convicted of slashing a journalist’s face before she was robbed as she lay on the ground.

Ruth Barry (33), Caledon Road, East Wall, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to production of a blade, robbery of and recklessly causing serious harm to Jennifer Bray, a freelance reporter, and not guilty to a charge of assaulting Neil Callanan.

Barry’s boyfriend, Jonathan O’Brien (31), Upper Dominic Street, had pleaded not guilty to causing serious harm to the woman and production of a knife in the dispute on O’Connell Street on June 25th, 2010.

Ms Bray was left with a large permanent scar after the incident.

The jury took four hours to find Barry guilty of the four charges and O’Brien guilty of one. They returned a not guilty verdict on O’Brien on the charge of producing a knife after being directed to do so by the judge due to lack of evidence. The couple were remanded on continuing bail until sentencing next month.

Judge Desmond Hogan thanked the jurors for their time and attention before dismissing them.

Senior counsel Mary Rose Gearty, prosecuting, told the jury Ms Bray and her work colleague Mr Callanan were on a night out and went to get takeaway food at 3am.

They met Ms Bray’s cousin Sarah Furlong and the three went to McDonald’s on O’Connell Street. While Ms Bray and Ms Furlong were in the queue, a dispute broke out when Barry accused Ms Bray of hitting her in the stomach.

Ms Bray apologised but Barry refused to accept this. After they got their food, Ms Bray, Ms Furlong and Mr Callanan went to hail a taxi on O’Connell Street.

Barry and O’Brien followed the three outside, where Barry punched Ms Bray and headbutted Ms Furlong.

While Mr Callanan was trying to break up the fight, Barry bit him.

Ms Bray felt something cold on her face and heard a click. She then slumped to the ground. Ms Gearty said she had been “slashed in the face” with a Stanley knife, which had a retractable blade.

O’Brien and Barry then left the scene. They were arrested nearby with blood on their clothes.