A 28-year-old Cork man has been found not guilty of slashing a fellow prisoner across the face at Portlaoise Prison.
Scott Morrissey (28), with an address listed at Cranford Pines, Ballincollig, Cork, was charged at Portlaoise Circuit Court with assault causing harm, at Portlaoise Prison on March 30, 2014. Mr Morrissey pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The alleged injured party, Mr Ray McInerney (41), from Limerick City, gave evidence that he was washing his face in his cell when the accused “lunged at me with a blade”, cutting him on the righthand side of the face.
Mr McInerney said that the accused then ran from the cell.
He said he was in shock after the incident, and there was a lot of blood.
A medical report on Mr McInerney read into the record by State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly, outlined that Mr McInerney had a laceration wound on his right cheek, running from his right ear down to the angle of his mouth.
The wound had to be sutured and bleeding-controlled. Mr McInerney received 22 stitches.
The court heard that the two men had been cellmates for two to three weeks before this, but Mr McInerney was moved a few days before the alleged assault.
Defence for the accused, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said that Mr Morrissey had requested that Mr McInerney be moved, as Mr McInerney was suicidal.
Mr McInerney confirmed that he had spent a night in segregation due to suicidal urges.
However, he told the court that it was he, Mr McInerney, who had asked to be moved from the cell.
The witness informed the court that he had been washing his face before the accused came in, and then going over his face with a razor.
After further questioning, he said “it could have been a razor” he had in his hand when he wentto get assistance after the alleged assault.
“If you’re trying to imply it, I didn’t cut myself, unless I used a machete,” said the witness.
Evidence was also given by Garda Kenneth Allen, who interviewed the accused after arrest. In interview, Mr Morrissey said: “I assaulted nobody.”
The accused said he went to Mr McInerney’s cell to “relieve the tension” between them after Mr McInerney had been moved.
“He came at me with a razor so I pushed him away,” said Mr Morrissey.
The accused told the gardaí that Mr McInerney had been “self-confessed suicidal” and he, the accused, had been finding it hard to sleep when sharing a cell.
All of the State’s evidence was heard in one day and defence did not go into evidence. The jury deliberated for a number of hours the following day, at one point asking to see CCTV footage again.
The jury found the accused not guilty.