A Donegal fiddler has agreed to provide music at an event as restorative justice in an assault case.
Sheep farmer and traditional musician Francis Cunningham, 40, of Malinbeg, Glencolmcille, had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to a retired psychotherapist, Eamon McMahon from Belfast on August 8, 2017 at the Glen Head Tavern, Cashel, Glencolmcille.
The judge in the case heard at Glenties District Court today paid tribute to all the relevant parties after it was resolved for a mutually agreed restorative justice programme.
At the end of the previous hearing, Judge Paul Kelly ruled that the matter be dealt through the vehicle of restorative justice and he accordingly adjourned the case.
A Probation Report was handed into court today, Wednesday.
The judge remarked the Probation Service had “gone way beyond the call of duty” in getting this outcome. He noted that the complainant had involved himself in this process and that was very revealing for both parties.
“It has been successful and both parties fully engaged in lengthy dealing with the Probation Service”. The judge said both parties had agreed to put the matter behind them.
They agreed to organise an event in the locality on human rights issues at which Mr Cunningham had agreed to provide the entertainment.
The judge said this was a creative and noble way to resolve the matter. He said Mr McMahon was anxious that the matter should not result in Mr Cunningham, who had no previous convictions, having a criminal record which might affect his activities in his career and his desire to travel abroad.
This was very generous of the complainant in the circumstances, he said.
The judge said both parties had come to a very deep understanding of each other’s position and it was very unlikely that Mr Cunningham would be before the courts again.
He said the whole incident had a deep effect on the defendant and the lady who is now his wife. He thanked the Probation Service for the very significant effort they put into the matter.
A restorative outcome had come in every sense of the word which appears to satisfy the needs of Mr McMahon and in the interests of society in dealing with the matter, he said.
He added that the event would take place in the new year at the suggestion of the Probation Service, and the court was adjourning the matter to allow the event to take place.
The case was being adjourned to April 22 where the court would be able to dispose of the matter without any further difficulty, the court was told.