Belfast Telegraph

Justice finally done over Healy turmoil

Editor's Viewpoint

There is no doubt that former international footballer David Healy was put through personal turmoil for more than a year while an assault charge hung over him. He was eventually acquitted of the charge of injuring another man, but that does not lessen the disruption caused to his life during the previous 12 months and the concern that his reputation had been irreparably damaged. For a man seeking a new career after his playing days appear over, the potential impact could have been enormous.

Now questions are being asked why the footballer was ever charged as his accuser was shown to have lied and there were grave concerns over the quality of the evidence against Mr Healy. Closed circuit television footage of the incident in which the accuser claimed to have sustained a broken nose was inconclusive. There was no medical evidence of the injury. The accuser also admitted in court that he had lied in a letter sent to the IFA shortly after the incident which he said was an attempt to blacken the player's name and prevent him being selected for a prestigious friendly.

A judge who at one stage said the viability of the case should be reviewed by senior staff at the Public Prosecution Service later stepped aside after the prosecution asked for the case to be heard in another court. There was an obvious determination to pursue the case to its conclusion, even, if viewed from this angle, it was a case which was full of holes. Ironically in the past the PPS has been accused of reluctance to prosecute cases which others believed stood a reasonable chance of resulting in a conviction.

There is no doubt Mr Healy was the victim of envy which is not an uncommon fate for those in the public eye. He was approached on the street and an altercation took place and the footballer admitted acting in self-defence, a legitimate action. The court found his accuser lacked credibility but Mr Healy has not even received an apology. But at least his reputation has been restored without a stain and that probably matters most to him.

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