McGrath 'hassled' witness before trial - court told


The trial of Fianna Fail TD Mattie McGrath for the assault of a teenager has heard that Mr McGrath “hassled” a witness prior to the case going to court.

The trial also heard that Mr McGrath had “started” a brawl in which a 17-year old was allegedly kicked and beaten by a group of men who Mr McGrath had called out of a pub.

Clonmel Circuit Court heard that Mr McGrath told another man, “the boys needed to be sorted out” following a late night row in his hometown, of Newcastle, Co Tipperary on August 14th, 2006. 

On the fourth day of the trail involving Mr McGrath, his son Edmond and four other men, Sean O’Sea gave evidence that Mr McGrath asked him for a lift home from Nugent’s pub at around 11.30pm on the night of the alleged incident.

Mr O’Sea told the court he walked to the car park with Mr McGrath and that Mr McGrath began shouting abuse at a group of youths sitting at the gates of the church.

He said Mr McGrath accused them of “scutting and blagarding” around the village and that they were “vandalising the village”.

Mr O’Shea said himself and Mattie got into his car and that a number of the youths came around the car and started arguing with Mr McGrath. Mr O’Shea said he went to get out but that Mr McGrath grabbed his arm and told him to hold on, that he had a phone and would “get the boys to come down”.

Mr O’Shea said a “big crowd of lads” came down from the pub and that a melee started. Mr O’Shea told the jury that when it was over, Mr McGrath sat in his car and apologised to him and said, “the boys needed to be sorted out”. 

Mr O’Shea told the court that “Mattie started it” and that if he’d been going home on his own, the youths wouldn’t have bothered him. Defence for Mr McGrath, Paddy McCarthy SC, asked Mr O’Sea in cross-examination if he didn’t like Mr McGrath. 

Mr O’Sea said he didn’t have anything against Mr McGrath. He then told the court he had got “hassle” from Mr McGrath in Nugent’s pub last November the day before the case was first due before the Clonmel District Court.

He said Mr McGrath “spoke plenty about me” in front of a big crowd in the pub. 

The trial continues next week.