County councillor tells Gardai to produce CCTV footage of alleged attack

December 14, 2018

A county councillor accused of assault causing harm to two men told Gardai to produce CCTV footage of the attack if they had it.

Donegal councillor John O’Donnell appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with two counts of assault causing harm to two different men.

He is charged with assault causing harm to Emmet Gallagher, now aged 22, at the Sultan Takeaway in the early hours of the morning of February 23rd, 2015.

He is also charged with assault causing harm to another man Seamus O’Donnell, aged 29, at Gortlee, Letterkenny.

Mr O’Donnell, aged 37 and from Kilmacrennan, has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

During the third day of the trial, jurors heard the statement of Mr O’Donnell when he was arrested by Gardai.

When interviewed, Mr O’Donnell denied the assaults and said he was waiting for due process.

He asked Gardai if they had CCTV footage of the incident and when told there wasn’t he replied ‘If you have the CCTV footage from outside Mr Chippie you will know what happened. The camera doesn’t lie….

“There’s no footage. That’s a disaster then. I already said ‘There are two sides to every story’… If I had anything to hide I wouldn’t have asked for the cameras.”

He was then asked by Gardai if he was denying that he attacked the men.

Mr O’Donnell replied “We’ll let it go to court. It will show the full sequence of events. It will show the truth.”

He added that it was “silly for me to be here” saying he was not taking anybody to court.

Mr O’Donnell added that while he had a drink taken, he wasn’t drunk adding that he had a full recollection of the evening.

Garda Paul McKenna had earlier told the court that despite checking a number of local businesses, he could not find any CCTV footage of the alleged incident.

However, barrister for Mr O’Donnell, Mr John Berry, then showed CCTV footage from Format Computers which purportedly showed Mr O’Donnell walking towards a taxi.

Mr O’Donnell told Gardai that he left the scene to flag down a taxi and asked if that looked like a man looking for a fight.

Earlier in the case, one of the alleged victims Seamus O’Donnell said he had to have his nose “packed” on three different occasions after being sent to Sligo General Hospital from Letterkenny University Hospital the day after the attack.

Mr O’Donnell claims he approached John O’Donnell after his friend Emmett Gallagher was punched by Mr O’Donnell in the Sultan Takeaway.

He admitted asking Mr O’Donnell “What the f*** did you hit the wee boy for?”

Barrister for John O’Donnell, Mr John Berry said the fact that Mr Seamus O’Donnell used an expletive in his query brought a tone of aggression to the conversation.

Mr Berry put it to Mr Emmett Gallagher that there was a lot of drink taken on the night.

“There was drink involved as you said. You wouldn’t be saying that if there was a single sherry or a small glass of wine involved,” he said.

Mr Gallagher agreed.

Mr Gallagher also said that he had been punched in the face by John O’Donnell in the Sultan Cafe.

Another friend of the injured men, Paddy Gallagher said he did not really see a fight between John O’Donnell and Seamus O’Donnell but did see John kicking Seamus.

“No I didn’t see the fight, just scuffling but I saw the kick. I know what I witnessed. It was four years ago but you’ll always remember something like that” he said.

The court also heard the medical evidence of how both men had been treated in hopsital for their injuries.

Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case until next Tuesday.