Barrister head-butted woman and broke her nose after row at creche
A 41-YEAR-OLD barrister and chess champion has been convicted of head-butting a creche director and breaking her nose.
Michael Waters, of Ava Avenue, Belfast, was found guilty by a majority verdict of assaulting the woman and causing her harm at her Dublin creche on January 4, 2012. He had denied the offence.
During the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, the victim told the court that she had been in her home office beside the creche on the day in question when one of her staff phoned her at about midday to say Waters had arrived.
She said she ran around to the creche, where children were having dinner, and asked to speak to Waters in her office.
The woman claimed Waters – who is well known in chess circles, having won the Ulster Chess Championship three times – said he wasn't leaving. She said when she repeated that she wanted to have a chat by themselves, he became upset and pushed her twice, with his two hands on her shoulders and then on her chest.
The woman said some of the young children in the room began to cry and get upset when they saw the accused becoming "quite aggressive" towards her. She went outside the room with Waters, who turned to go back in.
The woman said she had her hand on the door handle blocking Waters from getting back in, and that he was shouting and trying to bang her hand off the door. She said the accused told her he was going to bite her, and did try to bite her face and her hand. "He leaned back against the door and looked at me quite coldly and said: 'I'm going to hurt you'. Then he head-butted me straight into the face," she said.
The victim said she was totally shocked and her nose was bleeding. She said Waters told her: "I did nothing to you, you did that to yourself" before he turned, tripped over his feet and landed on the ground.
The court heard that Waters has a condition that leaves him unsteady on his feet and that a staff member had previously seen him falling over.
The woman said Waters stumbled and fell a second time, and that when the cook came up the stairs and tried to help him, she told her to leave him because she was afraid he would get aggressive again.
The jury was shown photographs of the woman's injuries, including a fractured nasal bone which required surgery, and bruising to her eyes and arms.
Waters told the court the allegations made against him were "complete fiction" and "a blatant lie".
The barrister claimed the creche director had become physical with him after a verbal disagreement. He said the injuries to the woman's nose came from when she pulled him from behind and he lost his balance and fell on top of her.
Waters said he had been assaulted by both the creche director and the deputy manager and that both women had pulled him to the ground and caused him a knee injury.
"I was assaulted, I clearly walked into an ambush," he said.
Three staff members at the creche told the court they had seen Waters become "angry and aggressive" and said they had been very frightened for the safety of the children, the creche director and themselves.
Judge Patricia Ryan remanded Waters on continuing bail for sentencing in October.