herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

Soccer player is cleared of match headbutt attack

A footballer who denied breaking an opponent's nose in a headbutt during a match, had the case against him dismissed today in Dublin's District Court.

Jason Byrne (25) was accused of carrying out an on-pitch assault on a member of the opposing team in an incident at the Three Rock Rovers Hockey Grounds in Rathfarnham, Dublin on February 19 2010.

He told a previous court hearing the pair went head-to-head during a brief confrontation but that no assault took place.

Mr Byrne from Gleanntan, Loughlinstown, denied he was responsible for the injuries suffered by Gareth Presch, who needed surgery to re-align his nose and still has breathing problems.

He denied a charge of assault causing harm to Mr Presch in the match incident.

Dublin District Court had been told the two teams were playing an 11-a-side match in the Nighthawks League at the grounds. Mr Presch's team was winning.

Mr Presch has alleged that the pair "shouldered" each other, the accused fell to the ground, then got up and headbutted him, breaking his nose.

In evidence, Mr Byrne told the court he had tackled another member of Mr Presch's team and that man fell to the ground. After this, he said, Mr Presch "barged" him from behind and the accused fell down.

"I got up off the ground and asked him: 'What are you playing at?'," the accused told the court. "He stepped forward and asked me what was I going to do about it. He put his head into my head, our two heads were together for maybe five seconds, there was no headbutt whatsoever".

He admitted being angry at the time but said: "There was nothing major about this incident, it was a simple incident that happens week in, week out."

Two team mates gave evidence that they witnessed the confrontation but never saw any headbutt.

Previously, Mr Presch told the court that after the alleged assault, he put his hand to his face and felt his nose was bleeding and "out of place -- completely out of position".

"Straight away, I noticed a deformity in my nose," he said.



Manipulate

He was found to have fractured nasal bones and septum.

Afterwards, he had corrective surgery to manipulate his nose back into place. But he told the court he still needed further surgery because there was "significant damage to his airways" which caused him trouble breathing.

Judge Patricia McNamara said she was not satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt as to the criminality in the case and therefore dismissed the case against Mr Byrne.

csheehy@herald.ie

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