Tyrone manager Mickey Harte isn't a man for keeping his head behind the parapet. He's lent his voice and public profile to the pro-life and pro-Quinn movements in recent months. Yesterday, as the Irish Independent report, at the Derry crown court, he provided a character reference for a certain Ronan McCusker.
McCusker is a 27-year-old who on June 28, 2010, took his father's van without permission, even though he was uninsured on the vehicle and had been disqualified from driving, attended a Cemetery Sunday service, consumed something in the range of 30 serving units of alcohol, sexually assaulted a 47-year-old woman he met at a bar and physically forced her from his father's van on the Ballymulligan Road near Magherafelt and left her there 'in a state of nakedness'.
For the defense, barrister George McCartney said of Mickey Harte's character reference: "This is a man who is one of the most successful managers in GAA history and this is a man who is no stranger to sorrow and to terrible tragedy," said Mr McCartney.
"Yet because of his knowledge of this young man and of his family, he has submitted a character reference."
McCusker comes from a 'widely-known' GAA family in Tyrone. He will be sentenced Thursday.