Man refused bail over fatal Cabra assault

Paul Brannigan (22) charged with using golf club as weapon in St Patrick’s Day attack

Gardai at the scene on Fassaugh Ave, Cabra, Dublin.Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Gardai at the scene on Fassaugh Ave, Cabra, Dublin.Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times


A 22-year-old man was refused bail today after he was charged with using a golf club as a weapon during an attack on Jason ‘Jay’ Saunders who died following a St Patrick’s Day party in Dublin.

The accused, Paul Brannigan, allegedly asked witnesses to destroy CCTV evidence and claims he was acting in self-defence during the incident on Tuesday morning, a court heard.

At about 7.30am on March 18th, gardai were alerted when 21-year-old Jason Saunders was found on the ground outside a shop at Fassaugh Avenue, in Cabra after leaving a party at a flat nearby.

The young Cabra man, who displayed trauma to his upper body area and had serious head injuries, was still alive at that point and was rushed to the Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead soon after his arrival.

The 22-year-old unemployed defendant was denied bail by Dublin District Court today after he appeared before Judge Patricia McNamara on charges of assault causing harm to Mr Saunders and producing a golf club as a weapon during the alleged attack.

Mr Brannigan, who is originally from Finglas but has an address at Fassaugh Avenue, was arrested on Tuesday and had been detained under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, at Finglas Garda Station.

Following instructions from the office of the DPP, he was charged there last night.

His left arm was broken and in a sling and he was dressed in a grey and blue striped t-shirt, grey tracksuit bottoms and runners when he appeared before the court.

He remained seated and silent during the hearing in which Detective Sergeant Tom Lynch told the judge that Mr Brannigan replied “nothing to say” when the two charges were put to him.

The DPP was contemplating “more serious charges” in the case, Judge McNamara heard, and Det-Sgt Lynch objected to bail citing fears the defendant would interfere with “two vital witnesses”.

He said that the injured party “died as a result of injuries from this assault”. The detective said it was alleged that when he was detained, Mr Brannigan made admissions to assaulting the victim.

Det Sgt Lynch also said the altercation was captured on CCTV and two local shop workers identified the accused.

The detective added that it would be alleged the accused approached them “in the minutes following the assault and asked them to delete the CCTV from system.”

Det Sgt Lynch said he feared the accused would interfere with the witnesses and he believed the 22-year-old could “impede the investigation.”

He agreed with defence solicitor Tony Collier that the assault admissions his client made “were in the context of self-defence”.

He also agreed that the CCTV evidence had been secured and is currently in garda custody but he feared the accused would interfere with the witnesses in relation to their statements.

Mr Collier said that Mr Brannigan’s parents were willing to post €7,000 bail and his client was welcome to reside with them at their home in Finglas. He also said Mr Brannigan would obey bail terms including a curfew, signing-on at a garda station and would stay away from certain places and people.

Mr Collier also said his client denies that he had asked the witnesses to delete CCTV evidence.

Judge McNamara refused to grant bail and remanded the accused in custody.

He will face his next hearing via video-link on March 26th at Cloverhill District Court. The accused, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, will now have to go the High Court to apply for bail.

He was granted legal aid and the judge made a direction that he must get medical attention during his remand in prison.

The deceased, Mr Saunders, who was also from Fassaugh Avenue ,was the youngest of five children and had celebrated his 21st birthday last month. Some of his relatives attended the hearing today and listened silently in the public gallery during the proceedings.

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old man, who had also been arrested was released from Blanchardstown Garda station without charge yesterday evening and a file is to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.