Jury deadlocked in Dunphy 'kiss' case

A legal case involving one of Ireland's foremost media personalities ended yesterday with a hung jury.

Eamon Dunphy, a former Irish international footballer and one of the most prominent figures on the Dublin media scene, found himself the star witness against a bouncer who claimed the broadcaster had fondled his testicles and tried to kiss him. The bouncer, David Heatly of Kimmage, was accused of making a false report to police about Mr Dunphy. The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court could not agree a verdict.

Mr Dunphy, a biographer and radio and television presenter, is reportedly one of Ireland's highest-paid journalists. He is rarely far from controversy in media and sporting circles.

The case arose from an incident outside a Dublin club called Cats, where Mr Heatly was head doorman. According to his account, he saw Mr Dunphy, who was alleged to be "drunk, crude and lewd", being turned away from a nearby lap-dancing club.

After some banter, Mr Dunphy was said to have tried to kiss Mr Heatly on the mouth and then slapped him on the face. He was also alleged to have asked Mr Heatly if he wanted a "blow-job" then grabbed his testicles. Shortly afterwards Mr Heatly went to the police and made a complaint.

In his evidence, Mr Dunphy said he could not fully remember the events of the night, having drunk about seven glasses of wine and a glass of champagne. But he said he was not "incoherent drunk" and was sure that nothing untoward happened.

Mr Dunphy told the court: "I wouldn't recognise Mr Heatly from the man in the moon. I genuinely can't recall doing that to Mr Heatly. I am not in the habit of kissing bouncers."

Mr Heatly denied that he "hot-footed" to the police station" to make a complaint because he was "seeing dollar signs" and was taking advantage of a "wealthy famous person who was three sheets to the wind".

A decision about a possible retrial is expected to be announced in two weeks.