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Footballer Jeff Hendrick found not guilty of violent disorder outside Dublin nightclub

His lawyer said that if his client could have run that night “he would have been chasing Germans on the pitch”.

Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 3pm

A JURY HAS acquitted Republic of Ireland soccer player Jeff Hendrick of committing violent disorder during a nightclub row in Dublin city four years ago.

During a four-day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Darren McDermott claimed that after a verbal row in Krystal nightclub, Hendrick pulled him out of a taxi. McDermott said he was then chased down a lane by other men.

He was assaulted in the laneway and suffered multiple fractures to his jaw and had his teeth smashed. He had emergency surgery for his injuries and is still receiving medical attention, he said.

Lawyers for Hendrick said the Premiership footballer could not have run after the taxi because he had a leg injury at the time. They said that McDermott had an agenda to destroy Hendrick’s career and was taking a civil case against him.

Hendrick (25), originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, Dublin but now living in the UK and his co-accused Jonathan Doran (26) Kilmore Close, also in Artane, had both pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at Harcourt Street, Dublin on 12 October 2013.

Doran also denied a separate charge of assault causing harm to McDermott at the junction of Montague Street and Harcourt Street on the same date.

After deliberating for 29 minutes today, the jury found Hendrick not guilty of violent disorder but convicted Mr Doran of that offence.

Charge dropped

Earlier in the day, Judge Martin Nolan told the jury he was withdrawing the charge of assault from Doran. He said there is no actual evidence that Doran punched, stabbed, kicked or co-operated with the assault.

In cross-examination Sean Gillane SC, defending Hendrick, put it to McDermott that the row broke out after he began slagging off the Irish football team and Hendrick’s family.

McDermott, a football coach, had joined the group including Hendrick and Doran and had posed for a photograph with the footballer.

Counsel put it to McDermott that he was becoming “touchy feely”, putting his arms around people’s necks and slagging off the Irish football squad and Hendrick’s family. He put it to McDermott that had become “a menace and a nuisance”.

He said when Hendrick told him to “fuck off out of our group”, McDermott stayed and Hendrick began shouting at him, leading to the intervention of club security.

McDermott said once outside the nightclub, Hendrick and others continued to shout at him.

‘Drunken handbags’

Hendrick’s lawyers described this as “drunken handbags” between two drunken men and put it to McDermott that he was “returning fire”.

McDermott said that after he was pulled from the taxi he ran down a laneway.

Gillane said if his client could have run that night he would have been chasing Germans on the pitch.

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McDermott told the jury that he blamed Hendrick for everything that happened to him that night. He admitted that he may have sent tweets to Hendrick months after the row saying, “I’m looking forward to destroying your career” but said he was angry at the time and these texts were not representative of him.

Case against the co-accused

Doran admitted chasing after McDermott and said he did so because he thought Hendrick had been hit.

He said McDermott turned and said, “I swear, I didn’t touch your mate Jeff,” and then fell down and Doran said he ended up sitting on top of him.

Doran told gardaí: “I didn’t actually expect to catch him but he fell. I was playing the hard man. It’s like a dog chasing a car – he wouldn’t know what do when he caught up with it.”

Judge Nolan remanded Mr Doran on continuing bail for sentence on 28 July.

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Declan Brennan

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