A short-fused phone salesman has been ordered to pay €6,000 in compensation to a man he punched and kicked after being jostled on a busy nightclub dancefloor.
The Galway District Court heard on Monday how Martin Bance (22), originally from Strokestown, Roscommon, but living at 70 Duirling, Roscam, Galway, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at GPO nightclub, Eglinton Street, Galway, on December 29, 2009.
Inspector Ernie White told the court that gardai were called to GPO nightclub at 1.55am where they found the defendant in a very intoxicated state and abusive. The inspector said that Bance had been in a row earlier in which he punched the injured party in the face before kicking him a number of times while he lay on the ground.
“It was an unprovoked assault”, said Inspector White, who then added that the injured party, Colin Power, received a laceration to the forehead and bruising. He later said that Bance has a previous conviction for assault causing harm for which he received a €700 fine in July 2009.
The defendant’s solicitor said that Bance is currently working full time with a telephone company. He said that CCTV footage showed that “everyone was packed like sardines on the dance floor” and “there was some jostling” between the defendant and the injured party.
Mr Power told Judge Mary Fahy that he had been standing with a friend on the dance floor when he just “turned around and got pucked in the face” and was then kicked. The 23-year-old electrician added that as a result of the assault he is left with a scar above one of his eyes, often suffers pains in the head, had blurred vision, and some teeth are loose. Mr Power said that he had paid hundreds to doctors and to the hospital for treatment.
“It’s very serious for your client because he has a previous for Section 3 assault,” Judge Fahy warned Bance’s solicitor. In reply the solicitor said that his client has abided by conditions imposed at a court sitting last year to stay away from all nightclubs in Galway. He also said that Bance has “certainly learnt his lesson and has not come to garda attention”.
“This young man was kicked while on the ground. Everyone who goes to night clubs knows that there is the possibility of being jostled. You don’t just turn around and hit out. What is his problem? Is it alcohol or a short fuse? If he can’t bear people bumping into him he should not be going into clubs,” said Judge Fahy.
The solicitor acknowledged that Bance “clearly” has an anger problem which is compounded by alcohol and crowded places.
“Because he has previous for it and has learnt no lesson I will be looking for €6,000 to be paid in compensation,” said Judge Fahy, who adjourned the matter to March 7 for an initial €3,000 to be paid. Further time is expected to be given for Bance to pay the remaining balance and, once the compensation is paid in full, Judge Fahy said that she would consider imposing a suspended sentence with the condition that Bance take part in anger management counselling.