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EXCLUSIVE: Church mass brawl case dropped after witnesses fail to turn up
THE case against a man accused of being involved in a brawl which erupted during a church mass dramatically collapsed on the morning he was due to stand trial.
James Mongan, 27, of Waterford Way, London, was due to face allegations that he was part of a fight which broke out in Holy Cross Church last February.
But when two witnesses failed to turn up for the hearing on Tuesday, magistrates ruled the charges against him should be dismissed.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) applied to have the case adjourned on the basis the witnesses were not present.
It is understood one of the witnesses cited a broken leg for his absence – and the other claimed the injured man should have been giving him a lift to court.
But magistrates rejected the CPS’ plea that the trial of Mongan – who had denied an assault charge – be put back to another date.
Prosecutors could offer no evidence and the case was dismissed.
The Star reported earlier this year how violence in the church had stemmed from a “domestic” between members of a St Helens-based traveller family.
Churchgoers fled in fear for their safety as trouble flared while Father Colin Fealey led evening mass. It was alleged that candlesticks were used as weapons during the disorder.
At the time police said the violence had been “very upsetting for the other people inside the church” and condemned the scenes as “totally unacceptable”.
Speaking to the Star shortly after the incident, one eyewitness, who asked to remain anonymous, described the scenes: “There looked to be around 40 of them running riot.
“Police had to stop the mass because they were fighting. Quite a few elderly people were upset.
“Most of the elderly people went out through a side door while the fighting carried on in Parade Street.”
It is understood Mongan, of Waterford Way in London, was informed of the court’s decision as he travelled to St Helens on Tuesday.