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Friday, March 06, 2009

Matt Larkin has O‘Dea appeal upheld

A Limerick man who was convicted of giving a false statement in relation to an incident involving Limerick TD Willie O’Dea has won his appeal at the Circuit Court of appeals today.

In the end it all came down to one still of CCTV footage for Matthew Larkin of Altimera Court, Thomondgate.

The 36 year old had been convicted last September at the District Court of making a false statement to Henry Street Gardai saying he was assaulted by Willie O'Dea at the Bank Bar on the 22nd of September 2007. He was given a three month suspended sentence upon his conviction.

At his appeal this week numerous witnesses were recalled and cross examined including the Minister for Defence and CCTV from the pub was once again combed through by both prosecution and defence. Attention was particularly focused on CCTV still ‘1.46.57’, a point which Michael Collins BL said showed O Dea’s hand to Larkin’s throat in the 'snug' area of the bar. Gardai had said this was the Minister protecting himself.

In upholding the appeal today Judge Ray Fulham commented Mr. O Dea “was being badgered and harassed by Mr Larkin” and was “entitled to use whatever force to defend himself.”

The Judge said however in conclusion that given the scope of the offence of assault, he was satisfied that the prosecution had not proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that Mr Larkin's allegation of assault was false.

A visibly relieved Larkin spoke to reporters outside the court saying he was delighted with the ruling which he said proved he was not lying and called on O’Dea to resign his ministerial position.

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