27 May 2022

Jury considering verdicts in Offaly trial where assaulted Kildare man lost finger

Tullamore courthouse

Jury consider verdict in Offaly assault trial

THE jury has retired to consider its verdicts after hearing evidence about a daylight attack on a man in Edenderry with a pull saw.

The assault on June 18, 2020 at JKL Street, Edenderry resulted in a construction worker, Kildare man Keith Dunne, losing most of his ring finger.

Mr Dunne (36) thought at the time he had been attacked with a machete and when the weapon was recovered at the scene afterwards it was discovered that it was a Japanese pull saw with a blade 37cm long.

Craig Connolly (30), Kinnefad, Edenderry, denies assaulting Mr Dunne, causing him serious harm, and he also denies assaulting Mr Dunne, causing him harm. The accused has also pleaded not guilty to being in possession of a pull saw at the time.

A co-accused, Sean Dillon (42), St Brigid's Road, Edenderry, denies assaulting Mr Dunne causing him harm and serious harm, and it is the State's case that he acted in common design with Mr Connolly or aided and abetted the other defendant.

A trial at Tullamore Circuit Court began on Tuesday of last week and Judge Keenan Johnson delivered his charge to the jury on Thursday morning.

He outlined the evidence they had heard, stressing that the identification by Mr Dunne of his assailant was a significant factor for them to consider.

Mr Dunne had told the court he identified the attacker, who was masked and had a hood, by a unibrow and a scar on his forehead.

Mr Dunne also said he knew Mr Connolly who was at the time in a relationship with Sophie Judge, the mother of Mr Dunne's child.

Ms Judge was called by the defence to give evidence of an alibi and she said Mr Connolly was with her and her young child at the time the assault occurred.

Mr Connolly had told gardai that he had been drinking that day and did not tell them he was with Ms Judge, but also told the guards to ask her what he was doing because he was an alcoholic and had a battle on his hands every day.

Judge Johnson also drew the jury's attention to a partial palm print found on the weapon which matched a print taken from Mr Connolly after his arrest. Also, blood found on the weapon matched Mr Dunne's blood but no such evidence was found on clothing seized from Mr Connolly.

The judge told the jury that Sean Dillon had said he was driving around Edenderry on the day of the assault because he was looking for his mother, who he said was shopping, and he also wished to go to the Credit Union, but realised he had forgotten his book.

The judge also noted that Mr Dillon had said somebody had got into the back of his van that afternoon but he did not know who that person was and he had let the perpetrator of the assault into his vehicle under duress.

The judge said both accused men at all times denied the charges and he emphasised to the jurors that they had to satisfy themselves beyond reasonable doubt if they were to bring forward guilty verdicts.

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