Fine Gael Senator in court over alleged Dundalk assault

Man says Cab settlement did not give John McGahon a ‘licence to viciously assault’ him

A man who claims a Fine Gael Senator seriously assaulted him has told Dundalk Circuit Court that a settlement he made with the Criminal Assets Bureau did not give the defendant "a licence to viciously assault" him.

John McGahon (31) of Faughart Gardens, St. Mary's Road, Dundalk has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Breen White, causing him harm at or about Park Street, Dundalk on June 16th 2018.

The first day of the trial heard how the complainant had been out celebrating after his horse “Total Demolition” won €6,000 at an evening race meeting at Fairyhouse.

Mr White told the jury he was leaving The Rumhouse with his wife, when he claimed the defendant grabbed her “in a sort of a maul” and put his arm around her as if to say “You’re coming with me”.

When he told him to leave her alone, the accused asked “What’s it to you?” and he told him that she is his wife.

He said while they were waiting outside the premises for his son to collect them, Mr McGahon came up to him and asked “Have you a problem with me?”. He told him he didn’t and said the accused repeatedly asked him his name. The witness claimed he had told the accused he wouldn’t know him “and to go about his business”.

He claimed Mr McGahon has asked him “Do you know who I am?”

He claimed the accused then began directing his questions to his wife and two men who seemed to know Mr McGahon approached. The witness alleged the pair “realised very quickly that John was getting himself in trouble” and told him to leave the situation.

Mr White said “handbags stuff” followed. There was a scuffle and the next thing he knew he was on the ground “getting knocks and bangs about the head”. He said he put his hands up on his face and thought that water was running down it but it was blood.

The court heard the alleged injured party was given first aid at The Rumhouse and his son took him to hospital. Mr White made a formal statement of complaint to gardaí five days later.

During cross examination by Hugh Hartnett SC, Mr White confirmed he is suing the accused for damages in a civil action. He said he wanted to make sure Mr McGahon “would stand in court for viciously assaulting me”. He added he’d told his solicitor he didn’t want the money and would give it to charity.

When Mr Hartnett asked the complainant "Did you push him away - out in the middle of the footpath?" Mr White replied "I don't recall."

He claimed “The man was after poking at me”. When the Senior Counsel asked “Did you push him backwards because you were fed up with him” the witness replied “I don’t think so”.

When asked who threw the first blow, Mr White replied “As far as I’m concerned it was John”. When pressed again, the witness said “I can’t say for definite”.

A statement which he gave his solicitor in preparation for a civil claim against Mr McGahon was then put to the witness. In it he claimed the defendant had “Suddenly and without warning” assaulted him. Mr Hartnett put it to Mr White that this would not be reflected in CCTV footage.

He asked the complainant to score his own honesty out of 10 and Mr White replied “Ten”.

When a settlement of € 537,000 with CAB in 2017 was put to him, he said “It was a consent order that I agreed to. I have no previous convictions. That didn’t give John McGahon licence to viciously assault me.

Mr. White replied “Yes. It wasn’t my money” when Mr Hartnett put it to him “They (CAB) came looking for a lot of money and you weren’t in a position to contest it.”

The trial - before four men and eight women, continues on Wednesday when the cross examination of Mr White will resume.