Teenager charged after woman loses sight in one eye

Marie Wrafter Gauvin was struck by a glass bottle over August Bank Holiday weekend

Marie Wrafter Gauvin is seen during the  Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival shortly before the incident.

Marie Wrafter Gauvin is seen during the Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival shortly before the incident.


A 19-year-old man appeared in court today charged with assaulting a woman who was blinded in one eye at a festival earlier this month.

Gary Ward with an address at Scurragh, Birr, Co Offaly, was brought before a vacation sitting of Portlaoise District Court in Co Laois.

He is charged with assault causing harm to Marie Wrafter Gauvin (58) at Keels Archway in Birr on August 4 last.

Mrs Gauvin, a Birr native who had returned to Ireland for a holiday from her home Canada, was struck by glass and lost the sight in her right eye at the Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival.

She underwent surgery at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear hospital in Dublin where doctors managed to save her eye but it is unlikely she will ever see through it again.

Inspector Declan Dunne applied to have the defendant remanded on bail with a number of conditions. “A file is being prepared for the DPP so we are awaiting directions on the charge,” he told Judge Aeneas McCarthy.

The court was told the defendant replied “I still didn’t do it” when charged with the offence. He appeared in court in a suit and tie but didn’t speak during the brief hearing.

Inspector Dunne asked the defendant sign on at Birr Garda Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 8pm, observe a curfew between 10pm and 8am and “that he have no contact or cause to be contacted any witnesses in this case.”

When Judge McCarthy queried the curfew element, Inspector Dunne explained, “he was out socialising at that time, there was alcohol consumed”.

Solicitor Bernadette Owens applied for legal aid in the case and said a statement of means was available. She also asked the Judge for an exemption to signing on this Friday as her client will be away with his family.

Judge McCarthy approved the legal aid and granted the exemption for Friday. The defendant was remanded on bail with conditions on his own bond of €200 to reappear before Birr District Court on September 10th.