TD’s son acquitted of assaulting witness from family court case

Edmond McGrath was also acquitted of causing criminal damage to neighbour’s car


A son of Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath was acquitted of assault and causing criminal damage to the car of a man who had testified in a previous court case in which the TD and his son were acquitted of assault charges.

Edmond McGrath (31) of Garrancasey, Newcastle, Co Tipperary denied a charge of common assault on Tom O’Donnell and causing criminal damage to his car at the Cat’s Pub at Melleray in Co Waterford on the night of April 19th 2015.

The alleged incident followed a commemoration event for War of Independence figure Liam Lynch earlier in the day.

Mr McGrath said Mr O’Donnell was a neighbour and although they were “not good friends”, he got on fine with him and there been “no bother” with Mr O’Donnell in the near ten years since he testified at Clonmel Circuit Criminal Court when he and his father were acquitted of assaulting another man.

Mr O’Donnell told Lismore District Court that Mr McGrath and his father, Mattie and sister, Maureen, were in the bar with his neighbour, Sean Byrne, when he entered the pub. As he was sitting at his table, Edmond McGrath, who was “half intoxicated”, came up behind him and hit on the shoulder.

When they left, he followed them out to the car park where he saw Edmond McGrath at the back of his car and he shouted at him to leave his car alone as he believed he was going to break off his wing mirror. He said he later discovered that his rear window wiper was badly damaged.

Publican Tina Power told the court she saw Edmond McGrath greet Mr O’Donnell and tap him on the back on the shoulder. While she followed Mr O’Donnell out when he got up quickly to follow the McGraths out into the car park, there was just an exchange of words in the car park, she said.

Judge John King granted a request for dismissal to defence barrister Eleanor Power BL on the criminal damage charge as Mr O’Donnell could only testify that he saw Mr McGrath moving at the rear of his car and there was no evidence that he had actually seen Mr McGrath bend and damage the wiper.

He said it seemed to him that both Mr O’Donnell and Mr McGrath had a selective memory of what happened in the bar as they had given entirely different versions of events so he was obliged to rely on the testimony of Ms Power who was the only independent witness.

Ms Power had said she had seen Mr McGrath tap Mr O’Donnell on the shoulder or the back but there was no way that the interaction she described could be considered an assault, and he also dismissed the assault charge against Mr McGrath.