‘HE has a propensity for violence,’ Judge James McNulty said when he adjourned a case against a man accused of punching one man in the face while he was helpless on the ground, and causing a double fracture to the jaw of a man on a dancefloor in Clonakilty.
Solicitor Ray Hennessy appeared at Skibbereen District Court on behalf of the accused, Josh Greg, who gave his address as The Cottage, Baltimore Road, Skibbereen, but told Judge McNulty that he is now living in Monaghan.
Insp Fergal Foley outlined the facts relating to the assault on Janis Grislis at Field’s car par on March 5th 2016, and the assault, causing harm, on Tomasz Gustfiak on the dancefloor at O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty on the night of July 9th last.
According to the inspector, a man who was drunk and ‘making a general fool of himself’ at the Paragon Bar in Skibbereen was ejected shortly before 3pm on March 5th 2016, but he walked back in and started making comments, which resulted in him once again being physically removed from the bar.
The inspector said that it was while he was outside, on the ground, that the accused approached him and ‘gave him a dig,’ which caused his nose to bleed.
On the second occasion – July 9th – the inspector said the two men were both on the dancefloor at 1am at The Venue when they ‘bumped into each other’, which led to an altercation and the accused assaulting the injured party by hitting him ‘a number of thumps into the face’.
The inspector told the court that the 24-year old accused, who is from Newcastle in England, and had previously served in the British army, has no convictions in this country, but said he had received a number of warnings about his behaviour in the UK.
In his own defence, Josh Greg, who is now self-employed in the renewable energy sector, explained that he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as a diagnosed brain injury for which he is receiving medical treatment.
In the first instance, the accused said the man was being abusive to him in the bar, and, in the second, he alleged that the injured party had ‘squared up’ to him.
Josh Greg did, however, offer to pay compensation and told the judge: ‘I have moved up to Monaghan for a better life.’
Judge McNulty’s response to that comment was to advise the accused: ‘There are a lot of fellas up in Monaghan that you wouldn’t want to cross.’
The judge said: ‘Once they had the rowdy boy out, they should have left him, but our hero hit him a good smack while on the ground.
‘He is stocky and a trained soldier, and he hit him with a full fist while he was seated on the ground and practically defenceless.
‘For that offence, the court is considering imposing a three-month sentence but suspending it for two years.’
The judge released the accused on his own bond and adjourned the case to the May 9th sitting of Skibbereen District Court for the final imposition of penalty on both assault charges, as well as the payment of €2,000 compensation to the man whose jaw was fractured.