A security guard working on the door of a pub in Carrick-on-Shannon was punched in the mouth by a Kilkenny man who had travelled there for a stag party.
Martin Dormer, a 29-year-old self-employed construction worker from Kellymount, Paulstown, Co Kilkenny, pleaded not guilty at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court to assault causing harm to Martin Connolly, at Main Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, on May 25, 2019, and guilty to the unlawful possession of €10 to €20 of cocaine at Carrick-on- Shannon Garda Station on the same date.
The injured party, Mr Connolly, told the court he was working as a security man at the front door of Dunne’s nightclub when he got a call from colleagues to open the side gate as a man was being escorted out of the premises.
Mr Connolly said he removed a bottle from Mr Dormer’s hand as he exited the laneway onto the street. He said the man’s whole demeanour changed and he swung a punch at him, making contact with his jaw and chipping his tooth. There was a scuffle and he said Mr Dormer put his finger in his ear and pulled, causing a laceration. Mr Connolly said he also hyper extended his leg.
He told the court he has been working in security for 15 years and was working in Dunne’s for one year at the time of the assault and is PSA certified.
Defence solicitor, Martin Burke, put it to Mr Connolly that CCTV footage showed that once the incident was dealt with and the Gardai had left, Mr Connolly spent 19 minutes talking with his colleagues and did not show them a chipped tooth. He said when Sgt Byrne came over to him he also didn’t show him his tooth.
Mr Connolly said it was not something he would moan about, it was something you learned to just deal with.
Mr Burke also put it to him that his GP report stated Mr Connolly was attacked by three men and received multiple blows to the head. Asked if this was what had happened, he replied no.
He said he didn’t know if the doctor was busy or wasn’t listening to him closely but he recalled telling him it was one assailant and it happened in about three seconds.
Mr Connolly denied that it was he who had assaulted Mr Dormer first by putting his hand to his face.
Mr Connolly said he had his hand out but said he did not strike him intentionally.
Mr Burke said that it took more than what was shown on the CCTV to chip a tooth and there was no dental evidence in court to support such a claim.
Inspector Tony Byrne (then Sgt Byrne) said he attended the scene at about 1am on the above date. He said there was a commotion just past Dunne’s near the Town Clock. A man was being restrained on the ground by security staff. Insp Byrne said he was quite intoxicated and very argumentative and had been ejected moments earlier.
He arrested Mr Dormer and took him to the local Garda Station where he searched him and found a small bag of white powder and a rolled up €5 note.
At 1.50am Insp Byrne returned to the scene as he was aware someone may have been assaulted and spoke to Martin Connolly who said he had been assaulted by Martin Dormer.
On July 5, 2019, Insp Byrne met Martin Dormer by appointment in Kilkenny Garda Station and interviewed him. He identified himself on the CCTV footage shown to him but said he had no recollection of the incident.
Insp Byrne told the court that when he spoke to Mr Dormer as he was being restrained, he calmed down and was extremely cooperative and got into the patrol car voluntarily.
Asked about Mr Connolly’s tooth, Insp Byrne said he recalled Mr Connolly had a sore mouth but he had no distinct recollection of a chipped tooth.
Insp Byrne said he viewed the video footage and it showed Mr Connolly taking the bottle from Mr Dormer. The defendant was out on the street facing back into the archway.
Insp Byrne said it seemed Mr Dormer made an attempt to get back in. Mr Connolly put his hand out to stop him and they grappled. More security arrived and Mr Connolly had him in a headlock as they moved down the street towards the Town Clock.
Judge Kevin Kilrane asked the Inspector if the defendant struck Mr Connolly a blow and he replied it was hard to say as it was at very close quarters but he did appear to make contact.
Mr Burke sought a direction from the judge on the charge of assault causing harm as he said there were no photos submitted into evidence, no dental records and no dentist to give evidence. He said Mr Connolly’s evidence was “not accurate.”
Mr Burke said if there was any contact, it was initiated by Mr Connolly. He said Mr Connolly’s hand went straight out and made contact with Mr Dormer and anything that happened after that was caused by his actions.
Judge Kilrane said the evidence of the victim was that he put his hand out to restrain the defendant from re-entering the premises and in the other hand he had a bottle of beer he had removed from him.
He said there was a tussle and the victim suffered a chipped tooth, an injury to his ear and a groin injury. Judge Kilrane said those injuries were “harm” and he convicted him of the offence.
The court heard Mr Dormer has previous convictions from Kilkenny District Court in February 2017 for intoxication in public and threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour for which he was fined €300 each.
He also has convictions in Australia for two counts of drunk and disorderly behaviour in Brisbane in 2014, failure to leave a licensed premises in Brisbane in 2013 for which he received eight days in prison, and public nuisance and drunk and disorderly convictions in 2012.
Mr Burke asked the judge to take into consideration the “grave doubt” whether a tooth was chipped. He said but for the chipped tooth the matter would have been finalised months ago.
In relation to the cocaine, Mr Burke said Mr Dormer had been in Carrick-on-Shannon for a stag party. He said Mr Dormer was asked by a friend to hold onto it. He said Mr Dormer had no previous convictions for drugs or assault.
Judge Kilrane said the defendant travelled from Kilkenny to a stag party and usually stag parties that descend on Carrick-on-Shannon have far too much drink and illegal drugs.
He said he found it very hard to believe a friend asked Mr Dormer to hold onto the cocaine and he had no doubt the defendant was using cocaine on the night.
Judge Kilrane said Mr Dormer was removed from the premises. He added the defendant should have stayed outside having been ejected.
He stated the injuries weren’t particularly serious and agreed it was difficult to understand how a chipped tooth occurred, but it may have happened when they were on the ground.
Judge Kilrane said Mr Connolly, if anything, was underplaying the injuries. He described the report by the doctor as “strange” and “incorrect in a number of respects.”
He said Mr Dormer has a serious problem with alcohol and he had heard about his previous convictions in this State and “his escapades in Australia” which he described as appearing like “something from the Wild Colonial Boy.”
He said Mr Dormer would want to be careful or he would end up in prison here as well.
In relation to the charge of assault causing harm, he convicted and fined Mr Dormer €300, allowing four months to pay.
In relation to the drugs offence, he said his practice was to give a chance to someone with a small amount of drugs in their possession, with a plea of guilty, and no previous drugs convictions
A conviction for cocaine is a serious conviction, he remarked, and said if Mr Dormer ever intended returning to Australia, “and he may not in view of his unfortunate history there,” a conviction would surely prevent him from doing so.
He ordered Mr Dormer to pay €200 to Hope House addiction treatment centre in Foxford, Co Mayo and said he would apply the Probation Act, Section 1.1.
An application for destruction of the cocaine and the contaminated €5 note was made which the judge granted, stating, “If we were to destroy every note that contained cocaine there would be a lot destroyed.”
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