A CHINESE man who jumped over the counter at his restaurant and assaulted a customer on a busy Hallowe’en night has had his case adjourned for 18 months to see if he behaves during that period.
Min Bin Wei of 6 Warners Lane, Market St, Skibbereen appeared at a recent sitting of Skibbereen District Court where he was charged with assaulting Brian Mullins, causing him harm at Field’s Car Park in Skibbereen.
Solicitor Colette McCarthy said her client would plead guilty to assault, which the State accepted. A charge of engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour was struck out.
Supt Ger O’Mahony told the court that the incident occurred at around 2.30am on Hallowe’en night on October 31st last year, where the injured party attended the Chinese restaurant which was run by the accused at the time. ‘There was some confusion over the payment of food and when the injured party left the premises, the defendant, who was a chef at the restaurant, jumped over the counter and came out and set upon Mr Mullins with another man,’ said Supt O’Mahony.
‘Mr Mullins told gardaí that it felt like a rugby tackle and he remembered the weight of them on him. He had blood on the back of his head and an ambulance was called and he was taken to CUH where doctors found a 1cm cut to the back of his head,’ the Supt added.
Supt O’Mahony said he didn’t believe Mr Mullins contributed to the events and that there was confusion outside and that other people became involved.
Ms McCarthy said her client no longer runs the restaurant, of which he was a co-owner.
‘It was a very busy night and there were people in costumes at the restaurant and some had drink taken. My client’s wife was running front of house and there was a lot of confusion over payment for food. My client became quite aggressive and he came over the counter and pushed Mr Mullins out the door,’ said Ms McCarthy.
‘It’s accepted, too, that my client and his wife were assaulted but there is no suggestion that Mr Mullins was responsible for that and they couldn’t identify who did it.’
Ms McCarthy added that her client did not deal with the perceived situation correctly.
‘He never had a situation like this before in all his 15 years living in Ireland and he fully accepts he didn’t deal with it right.’
Ms McCarthy told the court that her client no longer lives and work in Skibbereen and that he feels aggrieved at the others who caused bruising to both him and his wife.
‘He’s apologising at this stage and has money for the A&E expenses Mr Mullins had to pay as a result of being taken to CUH.’
Ms McCarthy said that there is an element of them being victims on the night, too, but that their actions were wrong.
‘This is alien to them and my client has never been in court before and his wife went home to China following the incident because of the stress involved.’
Supt O’Mahony said Mr Mullins told gardaí he had paid for his food but it escalated after that.
Judge Mary Dorgan said it sounded like a difficult and nasty episode.
‘I’m very conscious of the victim and the unprovoked assault on him and I’m anxious that there would be protection. I understand, too, that it was a difficult night as it was Hallowe’en and people were dressed up,’ said Judge Dorgan. Supt O’Mahony added that the other people involved that night couldn’t be identified as they were all dressed up in costumes.
Ms McCarthy said there were plenty of peripheral witnesses and that her client ended up on the ground – as did his colleague.
Judge Dorgan said she was inclined to adjourn it for a lengthy period to see if the defendant behaves and adjourned the case for 18 months until January 8th 2019. The defendant was ordered to be of good behaviour during this period and to enter a bond of €500 with no cash required.
‘The bond is to be of good behaviour and if it’s broken he will have to pay,’ she reminded him.
‘When he appears here on January 8th 2019 and if he is of good behaviour I will apply the Probation Act,’ said Judge Dorgan.