A UNION Hall man accused of breaking his best friend’s cheekbone with a punch to the face after drinking 15 Jaeger-bombs, five or six bottles of Heineken and 10 or 12 shots of Tequila, was acquitted at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
A jury of eight men and four women found Ian Jennings, 24, of Skahana, Union Hall, not guilty of assault causing harm to Adam Harris on Main Street, Union Hall, on January 23rd .
One of the pieces of prosecution evidence was the defendant’s text to his friend in hospital: ‘Hey lad, sorry about last night. I don’t know what happened. I’ll pay your hospital bill. Sorry.’
Adam Harris testified that he and Jennings were best friends for five or six years and had gone on holidays together a few times.
On the night of the disputed incident they were attending a darts match at The Boatman’s Inn in Union Hall. Mr Harris stepped outside in the early hours of the morning and said there was no build-up to the alleged assault.
‘I went out for a cigarette. Before I knew it I got hit like a ton of bricks. I turned around and said, “why the f*** did you hit me?”’
Jennings’s barrister, Sinead Behan, said in her address to the jury at the end of the evidence that Mr Harris told the defendant’s mother and brother that night that he fell. And when publican Kieran Woods rang the next day to see if he was okay, Mr Woods asked him what happened and he replied that he could not remember.
Ms Behan said the complainant explained these responses by saying he did not want to put it out in public what Ian Jennings had done, but she said Mr Harris was putting it very much in public by claming it to the gardaí and in court.
Ms Behan also said the details of the assault given by Mr Harris were very sparse and really consisted of him asking Jennings, “Why the f*** did you hit me?”
The defence barrister said there was no evidence of a row or a build-up to the disputed incident and that, on the contrary, the evidence was of them chatting and joking with each other for the night.
She also said the jury could not get away from the amount of drink consumed by the complainant – 12 to 15 drinks by his own account, or a lot more on the defendant’s account.
‘Would you like to be convicted on the evidence of someone after that much alcohol with the inconsistencies that are there?’ Ms Behan asked.
The jury took only 15 minutes to reach a unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdict.
When Mr Harris was brought to hospital, he was found to have a fractured cheekbone for which two titanium plates had to be inserted and he also suffered damage to lower side of his eye socket.