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OAP attack 'Mediator' dodges jail after horrific assault on 73-year-old man

One of the punches was so hard, the court heard, it dislodged the hearing aid from the ear on the other side of Mr Cleary's head.

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Traveller mediator Martin McDonagh punched Denis Cleary in the face.

Traveller mediator Martin McDonagh punched Denis Cleary in the face.

Traveller mediator Martin McDonagh punched Denis Cleary in the face.

This is the 'mediator' who dodged jail this week after being convicted of a sickening assault on a 73-year-old man.

Martin McDonagh (66) walked free from Kilmallock District Court with a one-month suspended sentence after the court heard how he repeatedly punched pensioner motorist Denis Cleary in the head in the aftermath of a sulky crash.

The court heard how he acts as a mediator within the Travelling community and has worked with gardaí.

One of the punches was so hard, the court heard, it dislodged the hearing aid from the ear on the other side of Mr Cleary's head.

Mr Cleary, who declined to be photographed, told the Sunday World he thought McDonagh should have gotten a 'couple of months in jail' over the sickening assault but said he wasn't really surprised when he didn't.

"I partly guessed that's all he'd get anyway," said Denis.

"The day this happened I was on my way home to my son's house and he was coming along the road flashing his lights at me. On that road there's enough room for two vehicles to pass but you have to slow down and pull in a bit.

"He passed me out and then I stopped and then the sulky coming behind him went in on top of the jeep.

"He (McDonagh) opened my door and pulled me out and hit me five or six belts of his fist into the side of the head.

"He fractured my nose but, in the court, his barrister claimed I'd hit my nose off the steering wheel. After it happened I turned the camera (the dashcam) and you could see the blood coming off my nose.

"I think if I'd hit him that many times I'd still be in jail."

"He should have got some couple of months anyway.

Last November, McDonagh (aged 66), of Riverview Estate, Kilmallock, had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm and dangerous driving at Riversfield, Kilmallock, on September 9, 2018.

However, after a lengthy contested case in Kilmallock Court, Judge Marian O'Leary who'd adjourned the matter to December to give her decision, found McDonagh guilty of assault causing harm but not guilty of dangerous driving.

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The judge gave an overview of injured party Mr Cleary's evidence.

"He was on his way to his son's residence on a straight stretch of road," she said. "He saw flashing lights but kept going because there was space for the driver (McDonagh) to pull in. He said he saw a horse behind the jeep and stopped to let it pass.

"He said Mr McDonagh opened his jeep door and began punching him into the face. "After he drove off he turned the dash cam around," said Judge O'Leary.

This footage was played at the hearing. It showed blood coming from the 73-year-old's nose and on his jumper.

The judge summarised the defence's case by saying Mr McDonagh was driving a jeep with his son in a sulky behind him.

He said a jeep (driven by the injured party) was 200 metres away, did not slow down and forced him off the road causing the sulky and pony to run into the back of McDonagh's jeep.

"They said the injured party hit his head off the steering wheel and there was no noise on the dash cam suggesting somebody had been struck," said Judge O'Leary.

The case was adjourned until last week for a victim impact statement.

Judge Patricia Harney presided following Judge O'Leary taking up a new role in Cork.

Reading from the victim impact statement, Judge Harney said the pensioner felt "terrified" during the assault.

"Since the incident he is living in fear of it happening again as he travels that road regularly.

"He is fearful of repercussions against himself and his family," read out Judge Harney from the victim impact statement.

Reginald Garrett BL, who represented Mr McDonagh, said his client has never accepted the verdict.

"He says he did not assault him.

"At the time he was under considerable pressure. His wife was passing away slowly. He acts as a mediator within the Travelling community and has worked with gardaí. His wife has sadly passed away."

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