Republic of Ireland star sent for trial accused of violent attack

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Jeff Hendrick arriving at Dublin District Court today
Jeff Hendrick arriving at Dublin District Court today

REPUBLIC of Ireland football star Jeff Hendrick has been returned for trial accused of taking part in a violent disorder incident in Dublin which led to a man suffering a broken jaw.

A court in Dublin has heard that soccer coach Darren McDermott feared for his life after he was confronted by a group including Jeff Hendrick. Mr McDermott has also alleged he was dragged from from a taxi by the the Derby County midfielder.

Hendrick (24), originally from Kilmore in north Dublin, is now based in England where he plays for Derby. He is accused of violent disorder at Harcourt Street in Dublin city centre on October 12, 2013.

The charge, under the Public Order Act, involves an allegation of the use of, or the threat of violence, which could cause a person to fear for their safety.

His co-accused Jonathan Doran (24), of Kilmore Crescent, Artane, Dublin, is also charged with violent disorder at nearby Montague Street but also has an additional charge for assault causing harm to Darren McDermott in connection with the same incident.

Both men had pleaded not guilty and a trial commenced at Dublin District Court in March. However, after hearing evidence from Darren McDermott, jurisdiction was refused, meaning the case must be heard at Circuit Court level, which has tougher sentencing powers.

Mr Hendrick and his co-defendant appeared again at the district court today where they were served with books of evidence.

Judge John King told them that if they intended to rely on alibis they must inform the prosecution within 14 days. Mr Hendrick and his co-defendant both replied "yeah" when asked if they understood.

Judge King made an order sending them forward to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where they will face a jury trial. They will face their next hearing on June 6 – a week before the Republic of Ireland play their first match, against Sweden, in the UEFA European Championships. New trial dates will be set.

At a hearing last month, Mr McDermott, a soccer coach who is from Kilmore west in Dublin but now living in Clarehall, in the city's north side, said he had gone out with a few friends to a club in the city centre. They watched an Ireland-Germany match and later went to the Krystle nightclub on Harcourt Street. They met Mr Hendrick's group.

He said they were chatting and laughing and had photos taken on their phones. He said when his friend went to the bar Mr Hendrick "just turned, his whole demeanour changed, he was not happy with me being in their company". He said the footballer became quite aggressive and started "verbals".

He said he left and had described being pulled out of a taxi and being threatened and pursued by Mr Hendrick. He claimed he had been followed and knocked to the ground and was allegedly set on, kicked in the face and he gave evidence that he feared for his life.

He said he suffered a triple fractured jaw and bruising to his chest, body, arms, legs and face.