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Dublin District Court

Top criminal defence solicitor charged with assaulting lawyer

Cahir O’Higgins, 46, whose practice is based at Dublin’s Parkgate Street, was arrested on Friday.

A TOP CRIMINAL defence solicitor has appeared in court accused of attacking and injuring a former colleague during an incident in Dublin city-centre.

Cahir O’Higgins, 46, whose practice is based at Dublin’s Parkgate Street, was arrested on Friday and charged at the Bridewell Garda station.

He was held overnight and brought to appear before Judge Patricia McNamara at Dublin District Court today.

Dressed in a black jacket, blue shirt, khaki trousers and black shoes, Mr O’Higgins did not address the court during the brief hearing. He spoke only to his own solicitor, but there has been no indication of how he intends to plead.

Legal professionals had to be asked to leave the courtroom after numbers went over the Covid-19 capacity of 21 people.

Detective Garda Niall Cadden gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

He told the court that Mr O’Higgins was arrested for the purpose of charge at 3.56am today. He was cautioned and charged just over 10 minutes later. “He made no reply to charge after caution,” Detective Garda Cadden said.

There was no objection to bail.

He is charged with assault causing harm to solicitor Stephen O’Mahony at Wolfe Tone Quay, D. 1 on 11 February last.

The offence is contrary to section three of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Defence solicitor Donal Quigley said bail terms had been agreed and the handwritten list of conditions were given to the judge.

Judge McNamara remanded Mr O’Higgins on bail in his own bond of €300, but a cash lodgement was not required.

She asked his solicitor if he wanted the bail terms to be read out, but Mr Quigley replied: “It would be my preference if they are not read out”.

Judge McNamara remarked that there was nothing particular in the bail terms but she added that the accused knew what they were.

Detective Garda Cadden said directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions were not available yet. The defence consented to his request for a seven-week adjournment.

Judge McNamara ordered Mr O’Higgins to appear again at the district court on 19 April next.

The solicitor signed his bail bond and was released minutes later.

In 2017, he was the highest-paid legal aid solicitor in the country and over the past decade has been among the top earners from the scheme.

His firm Cahir O’Higgins & Company Solicitors provides a full range of legal services including criminal defence, ligation, civil, and human rights law. He has represented clients at every level of the courts system and his firm is best known for work in the area of criminal law.

He acted for the defence in Irish Water protest-related cases.

In 2016, he worked on the political protest trials of a serving TD Joan Collins, a local politician and nine other defendants. All of them were acquitted.

The following year Mr O”Higgins successfully represented defendants in a trial where Paul Murphy TD was among a group accused of unlawfully imprisoning Joan Burton in the 2014 Jobstown water protest.

Mr O’Mahony, who was not present for the hearing today, had worked at the defendant’s firm for several years until 2020 when he established his own practice in Dublin, with offices on Camden Street.

He also acts in cases before the district and circuit courts, the Central Criminal Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

His firm was also representing a client in one of the cases listed before the same district court sitting today.

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