independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Night club fracas woman had a history of assault

"A BIT of a schmozzle" at a nightclub in Mallow left one woman with a cut to her face and 'round two' in court where one faced an assault causing harm charge.

Donna Barrow of 15 Powerscourt, Mallow denied a single charge of assault causing harm to Jessica O'Neill on April 22, 2012 at Club Lite on Chapel Lane, Mallow.

Ms O'Neill said Ms Barrow had been nudging her and was throwing her dirty looks when inside Club Lite. She said Ms Barrow had turned to her and had asked 'what was her problem' and that if she wanted a problem she would give her one.

She said Ms Barrow then smacked a glass into her face and both ended up on the floor where bouncers had to break them up.

Ms O'Neill ended up with a cut to her face and had to be given a tetanus shot. She still has a slight mark on her face.

However, solicitor for Donna Barrow, Mr Cathal Lombard, said the statement given by Ms O'Neill and her direct evidence in court were different. He furnished a letter from Club Lite which outlined that the club had stopped using glasses on their premises for the past three years, and now only served their drinks in plastic glasses.

Melissa Bowles, a friend of Ms O'Neill, said she saw both women "pulling at each other". She said she intervened to get them to stop. "People started to fall on the ground as other people tried to stop it, too. I didn't see any glass being thrown or anything like that," she said.

Mr Lombard said Ms Bowles had given "very fair and very honest" evidence, and said that there had been a "bit of a schmozzle" on the night.

Garda Noelle McSweeney said at 3.10am she got a call to attend Club Lite. She said she met Jessica O'Neill who had blood on her face.

Judge Brian Sheridan read a memo which was furnished to the court.

Donna Barrow said Jessica O'Neill "kept banging" off her and had elbowed her three times.

"The place was packed and I thought it was an accident the first time," said Ms Barrow. She said that Ms O'Neill had hit her into the face and, in reaction, she had grabbed her by the hair. Ms Barrow said she had a plastic cup in her hand and it had fallen to the ground.

"I didn't do anything that caused a cut to her face," said Ms Barrow. She said Ms O'Neill had slapped her first and she had not provoked her.

Having held the matter over for a week, on Tuesday Judge Sheridan said the state had proven its case - but he had been "taken by surprise" on hearing that Ms Barrow had two previous suspended sentences for assault.

In fact, the court heard Ms Barrow (24) had 21 prevoius convictions, mainly for public order and assault offences.

"Suspended sentences do not seem to be a deterrent to her," said the judge, as he sought a probation report.

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