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Tuesday 14 August 2018

Golf club-wielding party host assaulted man who later died

Paul Brannigan assaulted the man at a St Patrick’s Day party
Paul Brannigan assaulted the man at a St Patrick’s Day party

A Dublin man will be sentenced later for assaulting a man who later died outside a St Patrick's Day house party.

Paul Brannigan (27), of Ratoath Drive, Finglas, was convicted of two charges of assaulting Jason Saunders, causing him harm, at Fassaugh Avenue, Cabra, on March 18, 2014.

A Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury was unable to reach a majority verdict on a manslaughter charge after a trial.

Brannigan had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Saunders, two counts of assault and producing a golf club during the course of an assault.

Elva Duffy, prosecuting, said this was the second time the matter had come to trial and the DPP would not be seeking a third trial on the manslaughter charge.

Insp Thomas Lynch told Ms Duffy that Mr Saunders and a friend got a taxi to a party at Brannigan's then apartment at about 6.30am on March 18.

He said at some point Brannigan asked Mr Saunders to leave.

Headbutt

A shop worker told the court that he went outside after hearing shouts and saw both men, with Brannigan swinging a golf club "aggressively".

He did not see the club make contact with Mr Saunders, but he did see Brannigan headbutt him.

Insp Lynch told the court it was accepted that Brannigan's headbutt was in self-defence.

He told Ms Duffy that an injury was caused by the golf club.

The inspector said events "took a tragic turn" and Mr Saunders died a short time later despite members of the public going to his assistance.

He said post-mortem evidence showed Mr Saunders had a "tulip-shaped bruise" in the centre of his chest.

Gardai searched Brannigan's flat and found a golf club broken into three bits and thrown out of a back window. He initially denied it was the same club but later admitted it was.

He told gardai he waved the golf club to scare Mr Saunders.

Insp Lynch agreed with Conor Devally, defending, that Brannigan had to have a bone graft and his spleen removed.

Judge Baxter remanded Brannigan in custody until sentencing on October 22.

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