At Wednesday’s sitting of Castlebar District Court two men were before the court on assault charges arising out of an incident which took place on December 14 2009. Andrew Morris, 35 Castlegrove East, Castlebar, and Morris Agboerha, 52 Chestnut Grove, Castlebar, claim that each was assaulted by the other on the night in question.
Morris, who has been charged with section two assault, told the court that after a night out he went to the taxi rank on Bridge Street after 2am. He approached a taxi which was being driven by Agboerha and asked him how much it would cost to bring him home via the Centra shop. Morris said that he was told it would cost €15 and then he tried to bring the price down to €10. When Agboerha said that this could not be done, Morris remarked to him that he had seen him on a Prime Time Investigates programme into social welfare fraud and said that he would not pay him €15 as he had “took enough off this country”. Morris claimed that the taxi driver “flipped” and swung the car door open, which caught the side of Morris’ head and Morris was then pinned against a wall, where Morris said that he was hit three or four times in the head. Another taxi driver pulled Agboerha off Morris and Morris then went to the hospital where he received seven staples to his forehead.
Agboerha, who has been charged with section three assault, said that Morris came up to his car and straight away mentioned the Prime Time programme. The taxi driver said that Morris then hit his car a number of times and struck Agboerha on his lip. Agboerha then said he got out of the taxi to pursue Morris in order to detain him until the gardaí arrived, however Morris fell and injured his head. The taxi driver said that after he rang the gardaí he took another fare before he returned to the scene.
A friend of Agboerha, who was parked directly behind Agboerha the night of the incident, said that he observed Morris strike the taxi driver. This witness also said that as he tried to separate the men Morris fell and injured his head. Another taxi driver, who is not connected to either man, told the court that he observed Agboerha assault Morris.
Garda Caoimhe Walsh, who attended the scene, said that neither man made any complaint of assault on the night, however she observed the cut to Morris’s forehead. Both men made complaints to the gardaí about assault at a later stage.
CCTV footage was shown to Judge Mary Devins and the judge said that she would make her decision on February 2.