herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Air Corps officer is guilty of calling superior a 'piece of sh*t'

MILITARY

Nile Donohoe
Nile Donohoe

An Air Corps officer has been found guilty of assaulting his superior and calling him a "piece of s**t".

Commandant Nile (Niall) Donohoe prodded Lieutenant Colonel John Maloney in the chest and used an expletive.

He was appearing before Military Judge Colonel Michael Campion's court in the Military Justice Centre at McKee Barracks to face three charges of breaching military discipline and insubordination.

In 2010, Cmdt Donohoe became the first officer to be dismissed from the Defence Forces in more than 20 years after he was found guilty of using threatening or insulting language to a superior officer by a court martial. He allegedly called him "a little p***k".

But Cmdt Donohoe's dismissal was put on hold pending the outcome of the appeal he made to the Court Martial Appeal Court, which he successfully won in 2012.

The 52-year-old was yesterday found guilty of assaulting his superior and using insulting language against him, after the pair arrived for a pre-arranged meeting in relation to paperwork at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnell in August 2007.

During the hearings, Lt Col Maloney gave evidence that the incident occurred in a men's room after Cmdt Donohoe followed him.

The court heard Lt Col Maloney had made efforts to "escape" from the incident by entering a bathroom cubicle.

Cmdt Donohoe was yesterday found not guilty of committing an act to the prejudice of good order and discipline by the seven-person military board, or jury, on the same date.

The board, which comprised six men and one woman from various ranks of the Defence Forces, took just under two hours to deliver its verdict.

The court heard yesterday that Cmdt Donohoe's superior, who has 24 years' experience in the Defence Forces, "will never forget" the "unprovoked and malicious" incident.

grave

During his closing argument, senior counsel for the Defence Forces, Lt Col Jerry Lane, told the board that the charges Cmdt Donohoe was facing were "grave, serious and significant".

The defence had argued that Cmdt Donohoe did not follow his superior down the corridor and instead exited the building after their meeting.

They presented two witnesses to the court, who testified that they remembered seeing Cmdt Donohoe exiting the building in less than three minutes.

Cmdt Donohoe had pleaded not guilty and denied all the charges. He was originally facing five charges, but two were dropped earlier in the week after applications were made to the court.

When delivering his charge to the jury, Col Campion instructed them to leave their "day job" outside the room but to use their "insight into life and work" in the Defence Forces to reach their verdict.

He warned them that "what goes on in the boardroom, stays in the boardroom - except for the verdict".

Cmdt Donohoe, a father-of-two, is to appear before the court for his pre-sentencing hearing on May 19.

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