McGrath seeks investigation into assault trial


Following his acquittal yesterday on charges of assaulting a teenager in 2006, Fianna Fáil TD Mattie McGrath has today written to the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern requesting a full investigation into the trial.

Mr McGrath (50) and five other men, including his son Edmond, were acquitted of charges of assault against a teenager in his hometown during an alleged row on the night of August 13th, 2006.

The jury in the trial returned a majority verdict of not guilty on three charges against Mr McGrath, including assault causing harm, violent disorder and using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place.

Mr McGrath described the trial against him and his co-defendants today as "groundless, unnecessary and unfair." He claimed earlier today that political interference had been brought to bear on the case and also that a number of statements were left out of the book of evidence.

"Certain people didn’t want my political career to progress," he told RTÉ radio.

Speaking to The Irish Timesthis afternoon, Mr McGrath said he had sent an email to the Minister for Justice
Dermot Ahern this morning seeking an urgent meeting with him. Mr McGrath said that he wished to discuss a number of issues surrounding the case against him with the Minister and wanted a full investigation to take place into the circumstances leading to the trial.

Mr McGrath said that there had been political interference from within his own party and from opposition parties and alleged that other politicians knew about the charges against him before he received a summons, a situation he described as "frightening".

"Before we even knew we were going to get a summons, there was an investigation and we didn't expect a summons because we had done no wrong and certain gentlemen were able to go into pubs and tell people the nature of the charges that were going to be brought against me, weeks before we were charged," he said.

"I want a proper investigation. It's outrageous that people can arrive into a public house and quote charges that I was going to be charged with, weeks before I was charged."

At his trial, Mr McGrath, Garreneasy, Newcastle, Co Tipperary, was accused of assaulting Timothy Cleere (19), one of a number of youths drinking in a church car park in Newcastle on the night of August 13th, 2006.

The trial heard the youths had been shouting abuse at people outside Nugent's pub in the town where Mr McGrath had been socialising with friends. A row broke out at the church gates after Mr McGrath phoned a friend in the bar when he was approached by a number of the youths who were described as "drunk" and "threatening".
Mr Cleere and Eric Reith gave evidence that they were assaulted by a number of men who came from the pub during the alleged brawl.

Mr McGrath and his son Edmond, Garreneasy, Newcastle; Christopher Cullinan, Jason Ahearne, James Lonergan, all of Liam Lynch Terrace, Newcastle, and Anthony O'Dwyer, Garreneasey were all found not guilty of assaulting Timothy Cleere. Mr Cullinan was also found not guilty of assaulting Eric Reith.

Mr McGrath confirmed today he has also made a complaint to the Garda Complaints Board about the case.