February 9, 2016
Michael Jude McGarvey walks free from court

Michael Jude McGarvey walks free from court

A MAN who punched his former brother-in-law in a pub toilet has walked free from court after a judge decided not to impose a three month prison sentence.

Michael Jude McGarvey, who is 37 and from Glassagh, Gaoth Dobhair, was convicted of assault at Dungloe District Court and jailed but he had appealed the case to the Circuit Court.

Victim Stephen Ferry, who is 28, stood by his version of events on a night out at Teach Jack’s on September 2, 2012. McGarvey’s marriage to Ferry’s sister had ended two years earlier.

Mr Ferry said he had gone out to watch Manchester United play on TV that day.

He claimed that McGarvey had told him there “would be no more hassle” if he dropped allegations relating to an assault six months earlier at a takeaway in Derrybeg.

He claimed that McGarvey had shouldered him in the bar shortly afterwards.

“He started calling me a ‘wanker’ and slagging family members,” Mr Ferry told Judge John O’Hagan.

Around 9pm he said he went to the toilet and was standing at a urinal when McGarvey came in, punched him in the back of the head and he hit his head, busting his eye. Blood was pouring from the wound and as he had tried to escape out of the toilets McGarvey had ripped off his t-shirt.

Mr Ferry’s cousin Eimear McFadden said she saw him coming out of the toilets with blood pouring from a wound above his eye. She said she saw McGarvey emerge from the toilets smiling.

A short time later in the smoking area outside she said McGarvey had told her – in Irish – that “someone had to put manners on him (Mr Ferry).”

McGarvey gave a completely different version of events. He claimed Mr Ferry had been winding him up in the bar and said the injury suffered by Mr Ferry in the toilets was self-inflicted.

He claimed he was at the urinal when Mr Ferry had come out of one of the cubicles and attempted to throw a punch at him. He said he defended himself and Mr Ferry had fallen onto the floor, hitting his head and causing the cut.

He said Mr Ferry’s t-shirt “must have got caught in his hand” when he was defending himself.

Mr Ferry said there was a witness in the toilets. Sgt Rory Harrison told the court that five different witnesses in Teach Jack’s that evening had declined to give statements to gardai.

Retired inspector John O’Toole, who went to the scene, was asked by Judge John O’Hagan if Mr Ferry was “as drunk as a skunk” on the night of the incident. The garda said that he wasn’t.

The court there was “no hassle any more” between the parties.

Ferry had been cleared of assault in the District Court.

Judge O’Hagan said he was satisfied the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that McGarvey was guilty of assault causing harm.

He said McGarvey was “less than consistent with a considerable number of additions to explain what went on” when giving his evidence.

He said he was also satisfied with the evidence of Eimear McFadden that she did see McGarvey smiling “as if he had achieved something” and that McGarvey did say that “somebody needed to put manners on” Mr Ferry.

However the judge said the incident happened four years ago.

“The storm has settled and there would not appear to be same angst as there was in the past,” said Judge O’Hagan.

Turning to Mr Ferry he said: “In other words Mr Ferry, I believe you.”

However “under the circumstances” he set aside the three month prison sentence, applied to the Probation Act adding the parties should “stay away from one another in the future”.