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Alleged hatchet victim ‘vulnerable man with special needs’

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A CLARE man used a hatchet to allegedly assault a vulnerable man with special needs, a court has heard.

At Ennis district court this week, Judge Mary Larkin refused bail in the case of Andre Donegan (30).

Donegan, with an address at Smith’s Gardens, Kilkee, is charged with assault causing harm to an adult male. 

He is further charged with the production of hatchet during the course of a dispute, in a manner likely to intimidate or cause injury.

Both charges arise from an alleged incident at St Patrick’s Terrace, Kilkee, on June 1, 2019. Donegan has indicated that he will plead guilty to assault. 

Opposing Donegan’s bail application, Garda Jack Cagney of Kilrush garda station told the court that on the date in question it will be alleged Donegan used a hatchet to strike the left side of the alleged victim’s head. 

The man was hospitalised and received treatment for a wound, the court heard. 

The court heard the alleged victim has a learning disability and was interviewed by specialist garda interviewers. 

Garda Cagney said the alleged assault related to a dispute Donegan had with the alleged victim’s older brother. 

Garda Cagney said no conditions would allay his concerns should the accused be granted bail. 

He said the alleged victim in the case is a “vulnerable male with special needs”. 

Judge Larkin refused bail and remanded the accused in custody to appear again in court at a later date. 

The case against Donegan is to be heard in the circuit court after a judge refused jurisdiction to hear the case in the district court. 

After hearing an outline of the alleged facts earlier this month, Judge Alec Gabbett said, 

“I’m slow enough to accept jurisdiction where there is a hatchet. We may need the benefit of a jury. I’m going to refuse jurisdiction.” 

“It’s a serious matter, chasing a man down the street with a hatchet,” Judge Gabbet added. 

At that hearing, Donegan’s solicitor, John Casey said, “There will be a plea to the assault on a full facts basis.”

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