A customer of a Donegal pub has denied beating the bar owner with a baseball bat and has claimed the publican set him up as the customer had slagged him after he was seen masturbating in the bar by a female member of staff.
John McGettigan (32) of 9 Gemstone Park, Gleneely, has denied assault causing harm to Darren McLaughlin at Foden, Carndonagh on October 8th, 2013.
Mr McGettigan’s defence has claimed the victim of the assault has blamed him because he had ridiculed him in the bar after Mr McLaughlin was seen masturbating in the bar cellar by a female member of staff who he had been in a relationship with.
Mr McLaughlin told Letterkenny Circuit Court that his assailant was John McGettigan and he struck him several times with a baseball bat on the head, arms and legs.
Mr McLaughlin said the attack came after he had barred Mr McGettigan from the bar two days before the incident.
Defence counsel for McGettigan, Peter Nolan (BL), said the claim that Mr McGettigan assaulted him was part of a vendetta against Mr McGettigan because he didn't like him and he had embarrassed him in his pub for a number of months.
Mr McGettigan denied this.
Mr Nolan said that a female member of staff, Denise McDaid, had wittnessed Mr McLaughlin masturbate in front of her on three occasions.
Mr McLaughlin admitted this and said he had been in a relationship with Miss McDaid.
Mr Nolan said it had also got out to customers in the bar that Mr McLaughlin had offered the member of staff money to continue the activity in the bar.
It was put to Mr McLaughlin that he came to resent Mr McGettigan because he had been involved in calling him names over the incidents.
“It got back to the boys in the bar,” Mr Nolan said. “Everybody in the bar knew about it and they were slagging you mercilessly about this. They were calling you Tommy Tank, Tommy Tugger and Pat Mustard. You did not like it and you set him up to get him as he would not shut up about this.”
Mr McLaughlin told the court that he had barred Mr McGettigan on October 5th following an incident the night before. He was working in the bar on the night of October 7th when he said he noticed the defendant’s dark-coloured jeep parked outside.
When he got home at around 2am he saw Mr McGettigan coming towards the car. He got out of the car to face him and and Mr McGettigan said “you know what this is for”.
“He came down on top of me with a baseball bat and he kept slapping me. I kept shouting, ‘John, what are you at, what are you at,’ and he said, ‘You bastard you’.”
Mr McLaughlin said blows caught him on the arms and the head and after he fell to the ground he was struck on the legs. Mr McGettigan denied that there were inconsistencies in his story following the attack. He said while he told gardaí Mr McGettigan attacked him he told some people that he had been attacked by four men.
“It was my business and I did not want word spread. I kept it to myself. The only people who knew where the law.”
Medical evidence heard in court said Mr McLaughlin turned up in Nowdoc in Carndonagh drenched in blood. He had a deep cut to his forehead, two deep cuts to his legs and fractures to his right hand.
Miss Denise McDaid told the court said she had been in a brief relationship with Mr McLaughlin.
She said the relationship had ended when on three occasions about a year before the attack she caught Mr McLaughlin masturbating in the cellar when she was in his view.
She said each time she told him to “cop himself on” and slammed the door closed.
Miss McDaid said Mr McLaughlin sent her a text offering her €20 to “stand there and look pretty while he masturbated”.
She said she told a colleague, Jason McElhinney, about the incidents and soon customers in the bar became aware.
“It became banter in the bar then,” she said. “There was a crowd of lads, calling him tugger and calling him different things. It was a bit of craic.” The comments continued up until the attack, she said.
She said Mr McLaughlin laughed and walked away at the comments.
Miss McDaid said that following the attack Mr McLaughlin initially said he had been “jumped” by four men at his home before telling her a few days later that Mr McGettigan had attacked him.
Giving evidence Mr McGettigan said he was “constantly slagging” Mr McLaughlin about the incident with Miss McDaid. “I was the ringleader of it, it was only a bit of harmless fun,” he said. “He laughed it off but it was clear to be seen it was annoying him.”
Mr McGettigan denied that he assaulted Mr McLaughlin and said he had no reason to assault him.
“He must have a grudge against me.”
The case continues at hearing before Letterkenny Circuit Court.