A man who was accused of assault has denied any wrong-doing when he appeared at Letterkenny District Court.
Jason O’Connor, 24, with an address at Railway Avenue, Killygordon was accused of assaulting Seamus Duffy in the early hours of the 2nd of March 2013.
Seamus Duffy told the court that he and his wife Amanda were awoken by banging and kicking at their front door at around 3am.
His wife Amanda went to the front door and found an incensed and irate Jason O’Connor going berserk asking where their son Jason Duffy was.
She said he was screaming: “Where is your son? I’m going to f***ing murder your son and cut his throat.”
O’Connor was told by Amanda, that Jason wasn’t in the house, and she said he had replied: “I’m going to cut his throat when he comes back.”
In his evidence to the court Mr Duffy said that when he appeared at the front door O’Connor lunged at him and the pair began to wrestle.
Mr Duffy said he managed to get him into a headlock, and revealed to the court he had only recently undergone an operation on his chest.
During the scuffle Mr Duffy said that O’Connor repeatedly punched him in the chest saying, “Is this where you had your f***ing operation?
The pair were eventually separated by Mr Duffy’s wife Amanda and Linda Linton, mother of Jason O’Connor’s partner Leanne Linton.
It was then that Mr Duffy and his wife Amanda realised there was a fire at the property of O’Connor.
They saw the local fire brigade and members of the Gardaí attending to the scene of the blaze.
O’Connor believed that Jason Duffy started the fire, but Jason Duffy wasn’t in the area that evening.
Solicitor for the defendant Donough Cleary cross-examined Mr Duffy’s evidence in court, and compared it to the statement he gave Gardaí just a few days after the alleged incident.
He asked Mr Duffy was Jason O’Connor carrying something in his hand, he said he was but wasn’t sure what it was.
Mr Duffy said: “I’m not sure what it was, it looked like a knife, but I’m not 100% certain what it was, it could’ve been a stick.”
However, Mr Donough Cleary pointed out that in Mr Duffy’s original statement he was anything but vague regarding whether O’Connor was carrying an implement or not.
In his statement Mr Duffy had said O’Connor was wielding a kitchen knife, about 6 or 7 inches long, and that it had a black handle.
Mr Cleary also said that Jason O’Connor’s girlfriend Leanne Linton and her mother Linda Linton saw Mr Duffy pursue O’Connor down the path and hit him with a hurley.
Mr Duffy denied doing that and said it was completely untrue and that the incident never took place.
When asked why he had a hurley in his house, Mr Duffy snapped back: “There’s a hurley in every house in Killygordon.”
In his evidence to the court Jason O’Connor admitted he thought Jason Duffy had started the fire to his shed and was absolutely fuming and marched down to his property to see was he in.
He admitted banging and kicking the door and asking where was Jason Duffy, when he was told by Amanda Duffy he wasn’t in he turned and walked back towards his own property.
However, O’Connor claimed that Mr Duffy struck him with a hurley on the shoulder, O’Connor turned and took a swipe at Duffy before the two began to grapple and wrestle in the garden.
In his summary Judge Denis McLaughlin said there had been two very conflicting accounts of what happened that evening.
He said, “There are two very conflicting accounts of what happened being presented here today, but I’m not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.
“If Mr Duffy hadn’t changed his account regarding the knife, it could’ve had serious implications for Mr O’Connor if he was found guilty.
“However, the fact he initially said he was wielding a large kitchen knife with a dark handle, to now not knowing what it was has created doubt, and that’s why I hereby announce that this case is dismissed.”