Saturday 22 July 2017

Shoe shop boss assaulted former worker with window clean spray

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Eimear Cotter

A BUSINESSMAN sprayed a former employee with window cleaner after he made a smart comment that he had "missed a bit" while washing a shop window.

Matthew Connolly (55) was cleared of punching John Mulpetre and grabbing him by the throat.

A court heard that Mr Mulpetre had worked for Connolly's Shoes but was on strike following an industrial dispute. He was picketing the shop at the time of the incident.

Judge Anne Watkin dismissed the matter after Connolly donated €100 to St Vincent de Paul.

Judge Watkin also said Connolly "was no more to blame" than Mr Mulpetre for what happened.

The defendant was found to have assaulted Mr Mulpetre with window cleaner outside Shoe Xclusive, in George's Street, Dun Laoghaire.

Mr Mulpetre said he was on picket duty outside the shop - previously known as Connolly's Shoes - on September 21, 2013 when Connolly came out to clean the windows.

Mr Mulpetre said he was walking up and down when he turned to Connolly and said "you missed a spot".

FEARFUL

He was then sprayed in the chest with the window cleaner solution, after which he told Connolly "you're going to pay for cleaning up this jacket".

Mr Mulpetre claimed Connolly then started punching him, and grabbed him by the throat and forced him to the ground.

In cross examination, Mr Mulpetre claimed his remark to the defendant was "in jest", and denied he was provoking him.

He also denied that he "lunged" at Connolly as he walked back into the shop.

In his evidence, Connolly said he was washing the windows and Mr Mulpetre was making derogatory comments.

He admitted he turned and sprayed his placard with the window cleaner.

He said he was walking back into the shop when he saw, through a reflection in the glass, Mr Mulpetre "lunging" at him.

He claimed he was fearful for his safety so he ejected Mr Mulpetre from the premises.

Judge Watkin said it was accepted that Connolly had sprayed Mr Mulpetre.

She said she had no doubt Mr Mulpetre's behaviour was "provocative" and did not accept his comments were made in jest.

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