A judge has appealed for someone to come forward and tell the truth about the Offaly bar room incident that left an Irish-born Canadian tourist partially blinded.
Birr native Marie Gauvin was visiting her hometown and was an innocent bystander when she was struck by flying glass during a row in Keel’s Arch in August of last year.
Local man Gary Ward, 20, was acquitted by a jury at Tullamore Circuit Court of assaulting Gauvin causing serious harm.
After announcing the decision, Judge Anthony Hunt told the court that ‘someone somewhere out there’ knows the truth about what happened on the night Gauvin was injured.
The Irish Independent reports that Ward had repeatedly denied all charges. He was acquitted by the jury after three hours of deliberation.
The 59-year-old Gauvin had told the court she was on holidays when she was struck by glass during Birr Vintage Week last summer.
The jury heard she had sheltered from rain in an archway when glass was thrown during a disturbance.
The glass struck her right eye causing massive damage and leaving her with a ‘life changing’ injury.
She had earlier attended the Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival where her father Frank Wrafter had acted as Grand Marshall in the annual parade.
Gauvin attended hospital in Tullamore after the incident. She told the trial:
“They said the damage was horrific and there was nothing they could do for me there.”
Gauvin was transferred to Dublin where her eye was stitched and she was treated for fractures to her eye socket and facial cuts. She still has two stitches in her eye right eye.
She added: “I will never see again, the damage is too horrific to be repaired. My eye keeps receding because of lack of use.
“Down the road in the future they are talking about a prosthetic eye.”
Professor Lorraine Cassidy of the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin provided a report on the case which revealed that ‘the eye was completely collapsed and not even recognizable as an eye’.
Professor Cassidy said: “The injury was horrendous. Mrs Gauvin has a mild condition in her left eye. There is a possibility when she is older that she may lose vision in her left eye making this injury more serious.”
The Irish Independent report says the prosecution had claimed that Ward and Darragh Daly had fought in Keel’s Arch on the night in question.
They alleged Ward had thrown a glass at Daly as he walked from the scuffle. The accusation was repeatedly denied by Ward.