A man who denied deliberately assaulting an opposing player whose cheekbone was broken during a Meath and District League soccer match in County Louth, was convicted at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.
Jason O’Boyle (24) with an address at Oriel Cove, Clogherhead had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm at Newtown, Monasterboice on the 18th of September 2011.
The complainant in the case Simon Douglas told the jury last Wednesday that he was playing centre forward for Clones Town against Drogheda Crescent in a cup game when his team was awarded a free over a bad challenge twenty minutes in.
He said he had an argument with Drogheda Crescent’s “Number 2” player over the free and as he was waiting for it to be taken, he said he felt a blow to the right side of his face and fell to the ground.
Mr. Douglas said he was in a daze when he got up and tried to play on but he left minutes later as he said he could feel his whole face “sort of collapsing”.
He told the court that he was treated initially in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda and underwent surgery in St. James’ in Dublin – where a wire mesh was fitted to protect his cheekbone and eye socket.
During cross examination by the Defence he denied that there had been any jostling.
Another Clones Town player said he had seen Drogheda Crescent’s Number 2 look to see if the referee was watching him and claimed that he came from behind and hit the complainant two boxes to the right side of his face and as he fell he hit him once to the left side of the body. He also denied that there was any jostling as he said the whistle hadn’t blown for the free kick to be taken.
A third Clones Town player who said he had a view of the entire pitch gave evidence that he had seen his team-mate get a single blow to the face. He rejected a Defence suggestion that an elbow had caused the injury during jostling.
The referee gave evidence that he was cautioning a player when he heard a commotion behind him and saw a Clones Town player face down in the corner of the 18 yard box.
He said the player’s face was disfigured and when he spoke to the accused and asked him what happened, he said “He didn’t answer me. He smiled”.
A Garda Sergeant who had been off-duty at a game on an adjoining pitch told how he had seen the complainant walking towards him. He said the player stumbled and as he got closer, he could see that he was extremely pale and had a “very depressed fracture” under his eye and needed urgent medical attention.
He said that the player pointed out Number two on the opposing team, as the person responsible.
When interviewed at Drogheda Garda Station, the defendant confirmed that he was wearing the Number 2 jersey for Drogheda Crescent.
He said there had been pushing and shoving in the box and he had held his arms in the air to show he wasn’t involved and when he turned around he accidentally caught a Clones Town player.
He said he apologised and a free kick was given and said if it had been malicious there would’ve been “a much bigger issue”
In the witness box, Jason O’Boyle demonstrated how he had his hands up to show he wasn’t fouling and he claimed that as he turned, he’d caught a player with his elbow by accident.
He claimed that if he’d done what he was accused of, he would’ve been seen by the ref and sent off.
When the referee’s description of him smiling was put to Jason O’Boyle, he replied “I can’t recall that”.
The jurors - nine men and three women, returned the unanimous verdict last Thursday afternoon after almost two hours of deliberations.
The Defence barrister asked for sentencing to be put back until the next sitting of the court so that his client could have the opportunity to raise compensation. Judge Michael O’Shea adjourned the case until the 14th of January and remanded the accused on continuing bail.