Courts

Friday 25 July 2014

Karaoke assault father to do community service after Christmas party punch

Jessica Magee

Published 09/05/2014|15:41

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Dublin Criminal Court
Dublin Criminal Court

A Dublin father-of-six who punched a man who was singing karaoke at a Christmas party is to be spared jail, pending a probation report.

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Charles Dillon (33) was convicted by a jury of assault causing harm to Polish national Piotr Kozub (59) at the Castle Inn Pub in Rathfarnham village on December 13, 2008.

Dillon, with an address at Tara Hill Crescent, Rathfarnham, had denied the charge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Desmond Hogan said a custodial sentence would be “harsh” and indicated he would favour some form of restorative justice.

He adjourned sentencing until July to allow the probation service assess whether Dillon would be suitable to complete 240 hours of community service.

Judge Hogan said Dillon had been “just a bit too quick with the fists” and should have thought about it before hitting Mr Kozub.

“If he'd kept his fists in his pockets, he wouldn't be here today,” said the judge, adding that Mr Kozub was due a direct apology.

Judge Hogan noted that the Polish national had suffered “severe personal injuries” as a result of the assault, including black eyes and broken teeth.

He said the victim was also at a financial loss as he had to take five weeks off work and undergo dental surgery in Poland.

Dillon, who has two previous convictions for public order offences, blessed himself when Judge Hogan said he was unlikely to put him into custody.

Giving evidence during the trial, Mr Kozub told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that he had been out at a Christmas party with his co-workers from Nutgrove Shopping Centre on the night in question.

He said he was invited to sing by the man organising the karaoke night, who said no one else wanted to take part.

He said he had just begun singing a well-known Christmas song when a man came up behind him and hit him in the face.

He fell on the ground and claimed the man jumped on him and continued to beat him.

He said he was bleeding a lot from the nose and mouth, his face was swollen and he couldn't see out of one eye.

Mr Kozub was treated in hospital and a medical report showed he suffered a black eye, facial swelling and a possible fracture of the nasal bone.

Garda Donal Ashe said Mr Kozub was “clearly very shaken” after the assault with very visible injuries.

Under cross-examination by Kieran Kelly BL, defending, Mr Kozub denied being drunk or aggressive leading up to the assault.

“I had three or four beers over the evening, I am not a drinker. I am not an aggressive person,” he said.

Mr Kozub denied confronting the karaoke organiser and aggressively demanding to sing.

He dismissed a claim that someone had taken the microphone from him and that he had followed them, stuck his fingers in their chest and said “I'll kill you, Irish bastard.”

“I never said such a thing. I'm 60 years old, I've never pushed anyone in my life,” said Mr Kozub.

Giving direct evidence during the trial, Dillon said his brother John had been running the karaoke in the pub that night.

Dillon said at one point his brother asked him to retrieve the microphone from a man who was trailing it around the pub and in danger of dragging equipment off a table with the lead.

He said when he asked Mr Kozub for the microphone, the Polish national replied “What's your problem?”, jabbed his fingers in his chest and under his chin and threatened him.

“If somebody tells you they're going to kill you, you take it seriously. I thought he was going to hit me. My natural instinct was to defend myself,” said Mr Dillon.

The accused said he then took a swing at Mr Kozub out of “nerves”.

The court heard that Dillon is one of 11 siblings and that he and his partner have six children, aged between 15 and one.

He is currently unemployed but has worked previously as a lift technician and a tool-maker.

Judge Hogan adjourned Dillon on continuing bail for sentencing on July 11.

He ordered a probation report to be prepared for that date.

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