The barrister for a Moygownagh farmer who was found guilty of assaulting a garda told a court he was no longer prepared to represent him for ‘ethical reasons’.
Seamus Murphy (40) of Garrynagran, Moygownagh, Ballina was due to be sentenced last week for assaulting Sergeant James Murphy on his family farm in Moygownagh on July 14, 2013.
Mr Murphy had pleaded not guilty to the assault but was found guilty by a jury of assaulting Sgt Murphy following a trial at the end of June. During the trial, Sgt Murphy accused the defendant of trying to bite him in the testicles.
Mr Murphy was due to be sentenced last week but sentencing was further adjourned until today’s (Tuesday) sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court to allow him to obtain a new legal team.
His barrister, Leo Mulrooney informed Judge Rory MacCabe that for ‘ethical reasons’ he was unable to carry out the instructions of Mr Murphy. He asked to be released from his services.
Mr Murphy told Judge Mac Cabe he was seeking an adjournment in order to get a new legal team, and was given one week to do so. When Mr Murphy asked for more time, Judge Mac Cabe denied the request telling him a week was ‘plenty of time.’
The trial heard that Mr Murphy was charged with assault on Sgt Murphy and Sgt Maria Hayes when they were called to investigate a road traffic incident involving the defendant when he was driving his tractor.
They met Mr Murphy at approximately 1am as he was driving into his property and Sgt Murphy went to speak to him.
He told the court he was climbing onto the cab of the tractor when Mr Murphy suddenly drove off for 40 metres as he held onto the cab.
When the tractor stopped, Mr Murphy was accused of resisting arrest and had to be pepper sprayed. During the arrest, the two gardai accused him of assaulting them by biting and kicking them.
Sgt Murphy claimed it was the worst form of violence he encountered and feared for his life while Sgt Hayes said he kicked out violently at them and pepper spray had ‘zero affect’ on him.
Mr Murphy claimed he was the victim of a garda assault and that they beat him with their batons. A recording of the incident was played during the trial which heard Sgt Murphy said that the defendant would ‘f***ing die on the spot’ if he attempted to bite his testicles.
The jury found Mr Murphy guilty of assaulting Sgt Murphy but acquitted him of assault on Sgt Hayes.