A man was fined for a incident outside a bar in Galway City that left one young woman with a broken nose, and another with a mild concussion.
Gerard O’Brien (45), of Kingston Hall in Knocknacarra, was convicted of two charges of Assault Causing Harm at a special sitting of Galway District Court.
The court heard that the incident happened in the very early hours of April 18, 2019, on Dominick Street after the pubs had closed.
After a night out at the Roisín Dubh, two young women were approached by Mr O’Brien, who made an unwanted sexual comment to a woman named Emma.
The other woman, Francesca then told him to “f**k off”, pushing him away, and following after him to hit him with her handbag repeatedly while Emma tried to break them up.
O’Brien then struck Francesca in the side of the head with an open hand. There was some dispute between the sides whether this blow knocked her head into her friend’s face, or whether his fist connected directly with Emma. But she ended up with a broken nose as a result.
The broken nose required surgery to correct, while Francesca was informed by a doctor that she had a concussion after feeling dizzy at work the following day.
She was also charged with simple assault for attacking Mr O’Brien, for which she received an adult caution.
CCTV footage of the incident was captured from multiple premises on Dominick Street, and played for the judge.
Mr Colin Lynch BL, defending, said that his client had been defending himself after being attacked, and had tried to retreat from the encounter before he “drunkenly responded”.
Inspector Des Beirne said that his actions were not proportional to being hit with a handbag. “There was no harm done to him, there was no threat of harm being done to him”.
Judge Marie Keane said the cctv clearly showed the young women were “quite sober”, while O’Brien was drunk and pacing up and down the street, adding that this only happened because he made inappropriate comments.
The judge added that self-defence did not apply as there was no force to the blows against him, but that he “lashed out” with abandon.
Mr Lynch said that his client was very sorry for the harm he caused. He has no previous criminal convictions, and this event was out of character for him.
He could also get €2,000 in compensation that day for the two injured parties.
Judge Keane fined O’Brien €800 in total for the two assault charges, and ordered him to pay €1,500 to contribute to the medical expenses of Emma, and pay over €500 to Francesca.
image: Robert Linsdell CC BY 2.0 ‘The Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Galway’