Air Corps officer found guilty of assaulting superior officer

Cmdt Nile Donohoe also found guilty of using insulting language at Baldonnel Aerodrome

Commandant Nile Donohoe. File Photograph: Collins Courts Commandant Nile Donohoe. File Photograph: Collins Courts

Commandant Nile Donohoe. File Photograph: Collins Courts Commandant Nile Donohoe. File Photograph: Collins Courts


A member of the Air Corps has been found guilty of assaulting his commanding officer and using insulting language towards him at a court martial hearing in McKee Barracks.

Commandant Nile (Niall) Donohoe (52) was found not guilty of a third charge of committing an act to the prejudice of good order and discipline during an altercation which occurred at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel on 10th August 2007.

He had originally been facing five charges when the trial began last week.

However, one was thrown out following a legal submission from defence counsel Matt Shaw, and Cmdt Donohoe was then acquitted of making a false allegation against a fellow officer knowing that allegation to be false under the direction of military judge Col Michael Campion.

Cmdt Donohoe was previously court-martialled for a separate incident in 2010, but that decision was subsequently overturned and he was reinstated to the Defence Forces two years later.

According to testimony provided by Lieut Col John Maloney, Cmdt Donohoe’s superior officer in Casement Aerodrome at the time of the incident, Cmdt Donohoe became aggressive over the course of a meeting between the pair and proceeded to follow Lieut Col Maloney through the building and into the men’s restrooms where the alleged assault and verbal attack took place.

He said Cmdt Donohoe poked him in the chest and called him a “piece of shit”, causing Lieut Maloney to seek refuge in a toilet cubicle.

In his closing statement for the prosecution today , Lieut Col Jerry Lane said the charges levelled against Cmdt Donohoe were all the more serious due to his senior position within the Air Corps, along with the alleged victim’s high rank and many years of service.

The prosecution added that witnesses called by the defence- namely former sergeant Davy Byrne and Airman Willie Byrne- gave “rehearsed” evidence that was both “incredible and barely credible”.

“Ex-sargeant Byrne didn’t give evidence, he gave a performance. It poured out of him like a Shakespearean sonnet, but poorly,” he said.

A date for sentencing has not yet been set, but a pre-sentencing hearing will take place on May 19th.