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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Man punched Polish national singing karaoke at Christmas work party

Jessica Magee and Declan Brennan

Published 27/03/2014 | 18:08

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A MAN has been found guilty of punching a man while he sang karaoke at his Christmas work party.

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Charles Dillon (33) of Tara Hill Crescent, Rathfarnham, pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Polish national Piotr Kozub (59) at the Castle Inn Pub in Rathfarnham village on December 13, 2008.

Judge Desmond Hogan remanded him on continuing bail until May when he will be sentenced.

Mr Kozub told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that 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 said 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 told the court that the manager helped him by giving him paper towels, and that he phoned his son who came to collect him.

Once they got home Mr Kozub was still bleeding and vomiting, so they called an ambulance and went to hospital where he was given an x-ray and injections.

A medical report read out in court said Mr Kozub suffered a black eye, facial swelling and a possible fracture of the nasal bone.

Speaking through a Polish interpreter, Mr Kozub said he had been out at a Christmas party with his friends and co-workers from Nutgrove Shopping Centre, where he worked as a supervisor. He said the group went out after work at about 8pm and that the incident happened at around midnight.

Under cross-examination by Kieran Kelly BL, defending, Mr Kozub denied that he had been drunk or aggressive leading up to the alleged assault.

“I had three or four beers over the evening, I am not a drinker. I am not an aggressive person and I have never been aggressive in my life,” he said.

Mr Kozub rejected claims put to him by Mr Kelly that he had gone upstairs to a private function in the pub and demanded food by banging his fist on the counter.

He said he had asked for the owner because he wanted to buy sandwiches and they had stopped serving food downstairs.

He denied being asked to leave or being escorted downstairs and said he had walked downstairs with the manageress after she told him food was not served upstairs.

Mr Kozub also rejected a claim that he had interfered with another man's game of darts by taking darts out of the board.

He said he only remembered the game of darts he played with some of his friends.

He further rejected an allegation that he had confronted the man running the karaoke machine and aggressively demanded to sing.

He said he had been invited to sing by the organiser, who said no one else wanted to.

Mr Kozub said the organiser handed him the microphone, encouraged him to sing and was helping him to do so.

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, so don't try to tell me that I pushed someone,” said Mr Kozub.

“I was hoping this would never come to court, but that guy never even apologised. If you don't believe me, maybe the jury will,” he added.

Garda Donal Ashe said Mr Kozub gave a statement to gardaí the following day and his injuries were photographed.

He described Mr Kozub as being “clearly very shaken”, with very visible injuries including black eyes, a broken tooth and a swollen face.

In his direct evidence Mr Dillon claimed that he had reacted after the victim poked and threatened him saying, “I kill you, Irish bastard.”

Giving evidence to Kieran Kelly BL, defending, Mr Dillon said he had gone to the pub to have a few beers and see his brother running the karaoke night.

The accused said at one point his brother asked him to retrieve the microphone from a man who was walking around the pub with it.

Mr Dillon said he told Mr Kozub he had to take the mic from him as the lead was dragging equipment off the table.

He said Mr Kozub said “What's your problem?” and jabbed his fingers in his chest and then 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 after he took a swing out of “nerves”, both men fell over and other people jumped in and broke up the argument in a matter of seconds.

The accused's brother John Dillon described the victim as “aggressive and sloppy” on the night in question.

John Dillon, who was running the karaoke night, said Mr Kozub kept coming up to him saying “sing, sing” so he cut his own song short in order to allow the Polish national to sing.

When he put on some background music, he said Mr Kozub wasn't singing along but was just saying “I love you, I love you,” to people in the pub.

“He was walking up to people, kneeling down and saying 'I love you' to them, and to a young girl who was sitting with her mother and father,” he said.

Mr Dillon said he was afraid for his equipment because it was brand new, so he asked his brother Charles to go and retrieve the mic.

He said he saw Mr Kozub poke his brother twice and threaten him, causing Charles to get a fright and “take a swipe”.

“It was over in seconds,” he said.

A barman who had been working at a private function upstairs gave evidence that he refused Mr Kozub a drink when he came up and banged his fist on the counter.

Another man at the pub told the court Mr Kozub had interfered with his game of darts by pulling darts out of the dartboard.

Mr Kozub rejected both of these claims and said he only remembered his own game of darts and denied being drunk or aggressive before the incident.

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