Dunmurry man jailed for assault fails in appeal

There was a sitting of Longford District Court last week.
There was a sitting of Longford District Court last week.

A Dunmurry man who was jailed for 14 years for an attack on a family in their Magherafelt home has failed to have his conviction overturned following a Court of Appeal trial.

Michael Mongan, (24) of White Rise was convicted in 2013 of assaulting Theresa Convery, her grandson Philip Convery and her son Martin Convery in an attack with iron bars and pistols.

Lord Justice Coghlin said: “We are not persuaded that this conviction was in any respect unsafe.”

Mongan’s lawyers however, claimed there were flaws in how Mrs Convery and her grandson both identified him as having battered them during a botched robbery.

But judges rejected claims that their evidence impacted on the fairness of the trial process and should have been excluded.

A jury at Londonderry Crown Court also found him guilty by a majority verdict of attempting to steal £10,000 and with driving while disqualified and without insurance.

According to Mongan’s legal team Theresa Convery did not provide details of Mongan’s facial features in her descriptiion of the man who had beat her.

She and two other victims were attacked at their home on the Mayogall Road, Magherafelt, in June 2012.

Two men burst in armed with a gun and iron bar shouting: “Give us the money.”

Theresa (70) was beaten about the legs, hips and arms with an iron bar by one of the men. When her grandson, Philip tried to defend her he too was struck several times about the head and body.

He had been revising for GCSE examinations at the time of the attack, sustained a fractured skull.

He had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from the surface of his brain.

His uncle Martin also attempted to intervene and was hit both with the iron bar and with a firearm.

He escaped and flagged down a passing motorist who alerted the police.

Mongan, centred his attempt to overturn his convictions on how identification procedures were handled.

His barrister claimed Theresa Convery’s evidence should only have been treated as a qualified identification of the defendant and propery guidance should have been given to the jury on the weight to attach to it.

But Lord Justice Coghlin, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justice Gillen, held that the grandmother’s evidence was admissible.

Even if it was a qualified identification it supported and was consistent with a positive identification made by Philip Convery, the judge said.

Mongan, who appeared via a prison video-link, is now expected to launch an appeal against his 14-year sentence at a later date.