frustrating | 

Mum of Dublin man fatally assaulted at home ‘disgusted’ as witnesses fail to show up at inquest

Vincent Maher (29), died from injuries sustained in a violent assault in his home in Finglas

Vincent Maher

Seán McCárthaighSunday World

The mother of a young Dublin man who was fatally assaulted in his apartment nine years ago has expressed dismay that a large number of witnesses failed to show up to give evidence at his inquest.

Vincent Maher (29), died from injuries sustained in a violent assault which is believed to have taken place during a party in his home in Springmount Apartments on Wellmount Road, Finglas in the early hours of January 11, 2014.

A post-mortem showed he had died as a result of blunt force trauma injuries.

Speaking after an inquest into Mr Maher’s death at Dublin District Coroner’s Court was adjourned on Wednesday, the victim’s mother, Tina Maher, said she was “disgusted” at the attitude of individuals who had been summonsed to give evidence by their non-attendance at the hearing.

“It’s very disappointing and frustrating that witnesses didn’t turn up. It’s been nine years. The mentality of some people is disgusting,” said Ms Maher.

Garda sources at the time of his death said they believed Mr Maher was attacked after he confronted two males about broken furniture in his flat.

Gardaí also said it was possible that the victim – a separated father of one who came originally from Poppintree, Ballymun – could have survived if someone had called an ambulance.

Mr Maher’s body was found lying beside his bed by a landlady who called to the flat at around 11am.

A number of males were seen running from the victim’s home at around 5am.

At the outset of the inquest, the coroner, Clare Keane, apologised to the family as she explained that she had issued “multiple” summonses to witnesses but they had failed to show up in court.

Detective Inspector Bronagh O’Reilly told the coroner that two of the listed witnesses had been physically served with summons to give evidence but had indicated they would not attend the hearing.

Det Insp O’Reilly said another witness was aware they were due to give evidence but had not been issued with a summons.

The coroner said she was aware of one witness who is currently in custody who had not been served with a summons.

In addition, Dr Keane said there were two other witnesses who “could be helpful”, although they were not physically present in Mr Maher’s home around the time of his death.

Dr Keane said it was possible to proceed with the inquest based on depositions and a pathologist’s report but it would be “limited” as witnesses were absent and could not be questioned.

The coroner also observed that she did not believe the issue of witnesses giving evidence had been fully explored.

Dr Keane said it was possible that further information might be available, although she acknowledged she was “not too optimistic” about that happening.

The coroner noted that Mr Maher’s death remained an open criminal investigation by gardaí and did not want to do anything that could prejudice any possible prosecution in the future.

She offered the victim’s family the choice between proceeding with evidence based on depositions or adjourning the case while fresh summonses would be issued to witnesses.

Following a short break, a Garda liaison officer indicated that the victim’s family supported the suggestion by the coroner to make a second effort at getting witnesses to give evidence.

Offering her condolences to Mr Maher’s parents and other relatives, Dr Keane said she recognised an adjournment was not what they wanted after already waiting a long time for the inquest to go ahead.

The coroner said she believed they had made “a good decision” and promised she would hold the rescheduled inquest “at the earliest opportunity.”

Under the Coroners (Amendment) Act 2019, a coroner can apply to the High Court for an order directing a person to comply with a summons if they fail to attend an inquest to give evidence “without reasonable excuse.”

The High Court can also issue any order which it deems necessary, including one on costs, to give full effect to the direction to comply with a summons.

In December 2019, the victim’s parents, Tina and Terry Maher made a public appeal on RTÉ’s Crimecall for witnesses to come forward with information about what happened to their son so that they could get peace and justice.

On the programme, Ms Maher remarked: “So whoever done this to him, I hope to God they give me peace. That’s all I want now is peace, not only for me but for all my family.”

It is understood that around 15 people had been in Mr Maher’s flat at the party.

Although five people including two females were arrested in relation to the fatal incident, nobody has ever been charged over his death.

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