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Convictions in Skibbereen bar room brawl which involved 13 witnesses

June 29th, 2018 5:50 PM

By Southern Star Team

Cotter's Bar before it changed name.

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CHARGES relating to a bar room brawl in Skibbereen were finalised by Judge Mary Dorgan at a recent sitting of the district court.

Evidence in the case – which involved 13 witnesses – was heard at a special sitting of Skibbereen District Court last November.

At that court, solicitor Ray Hennessy appeared on behalf of Dan ‘Danny’ Minihan (58), of Pound Lick, Skibbereen, who was charged with assaulting Anne O’Brien at Cotter’s Bar at Main Street, Skibbereen, on December 28th 2015.

Anne O’Brien (52) of 21 Pound Hill, Skibbereen, was charged with assaulting Danny Minihan, and with a public order offence of engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

Anne O’Brien was legally represented by Colette McCarthy, who also acted for her two daughters, Carla O’Brien (28) of 4, Gortnaclohy Heights, Skibbereen, who was charged with assaulting Danny Minihan, occasioning harm, as well as engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

Aoife O’Brien (21) of 21 Pound Hill, Skibbereen was charged with assaulting Danny Minihan and with engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour. 

Luke O’Donovan, solicitor, represented the fifth defendant, Darren O’Brien (31) – the son of Anne O’Brien – who also gave 21 Pound Hill, Skibbereen, as his address. He was charged with assaulting Danny Minihan, and with engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

The State prosecutor outlined the background to the case, saying that Darren O’Brien had been in a relationship with Danny Minihan’s daughter. 

Insp Brian Murphy said they had two children together, but the relationship had broken down.

One side alleged that Danny Minihan made a derogatory comment and a threat to Darren O’Brien in the toilets, but the other side alleged that it was Anne O’Brien who approached Danny Minihan in the bar. They said it was her actions that were the catalyst for what happened next.

Danny Minihan claimed that he was struck several times into the head by Anne O’Brien and that he merely restrained her. He also alleged that Carla threw the contents of a pint glass in his face and brought the base of the glass down on his nose, twice, causing it to fracture and bleed. 

He alleged that Aoife O’Brien struck him while he was still seated in the bar and that Darren O’Brien threw a punch into his face during the commotion.

But Colette McCarthy claimed her client, Anne O’Brien, had been pinned in place by Danny Minihan, who had a hold of her dress, and she alleged he had, in fact, ripped it.

After considering the evidence on the day of the special hearing, Judge Mary Dorgan struck out the assault charges against Anne O’Brien and Aoife O’Brien but said everything else would stand.

At that court, she ordered everyone to attend mediation in the hopes of healing whatever rift may have been caused by the events on the night of November 13th 2017.

However, when the case was called at a subsequent sitting, Judge Dorgan indicated her displeasure at the lack of progress regarding mediation and the failure of Danny Minihan to attend court on that occasion.

She adjourned the case again and, at the most recent sitting, she convicted Darren O’Brien of the public order offence and ordered him to enter into a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months.

The charge against Darren O’Brien of assaulting Danny Minihan was dismissed by the judge.

Anne O’Brien and her daughter Aoife O’Brien were ordered to enter into a bond and be of good behaviour for 12 months on the public order charges, but the case against Carla O’Brien was put back to another sitting of Skibbereen District Court because she had been unwell and had to leave the court.

Supt Ger O’Mahony told Judge Dorgan that Danny Minihan has no previous convictions but, on this occasion, the judge claimed he had been ‘the author of his own misfortune.’ 

Judge Dorgan convicted him of assaulting Anne O’Brien and fined him €200, as well as binding him to keep the peace for a period of 12 months.

Ray Hennessy asked for recognisances to be fixed for an appeal.

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