Tuesday 20 February 2018

Tourist who glassed man in Copper Face Jacks ordered to pay victim €17.5k

Copper Face Jacks
Copper Face Jacks

Isabel Hayes

A Norwegian visitor who glassed a man on the dance floor of Copper Face Jacks nightclub has avoided jail but been ordered to pay his victim the sum of €17,500.

Nikolai Vinningland (24) was visiting Ireland on a business trip when he bumped into Robert Lee Greaves on the dance floor of the Dublin night club at around 2am and struck him to the face with a glass.

The glass broke and Robert Lee Greaves, a doctor, received serious facial and dental injuries.

Vinningland, with an address in Bersagelveien, Hommersak,Norway, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Mr Lee Greaves at the nightclub in Harcourt Street, Dublin, on April 16, 2016. He has since returned to Ireland on seven occasions to meet the case against him, the court heard.

Today, Garda Fiachra Sloan told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that Mr Lee Greaves was dancing in the nightclub on the night in question when he felt someone jostle him. He turned around and encountered Vinningland, who was “squaring up to him” the court heard.

Mr Lee Greaves said he pushed the man away in an attempt to defuse the situation before Vinningland hit him in the face with a glass, which then broke.

“The victim recalls there was a lot of blood,” Mr Baker said. He was taken to St James's Hospital with a fully lacerated lip which had to be sewn back together, the court heard. His front tooth had been knocked out and his incisor tooth was broken. He required further stitches to his chin and had cuts to his neck and face.

Mr Lee Greaves required plastic surgery and extensive dental work in the wake of the assault.

In a victim impact statement handed up to court, Mr Lee Greaves reported suffering anxiety and embarrassment. He said he felt “disfigured” for many months after the attack and was self-conscious when dealing with his patients in work. He said the assault cost him €7500, mostly in lost earnings.

Mr Lee Greaves has since moved to Australia and was not in court for sentencing.

Vinningland was arrested in the nightclub after gardaí were called. He told officers he was assaulted himself and was acting in self-defence. He said he forgot he had a glass in his hand.

Vinningland has two previous convictions in Norway for assault and grievous bodily harm, the court heard.

Defence counsel Kieran Kelly BL, said his client completed high school in Norway and did a construction course before getting a job in the construction industry. He was on a business trip on the night in question and it was his first time in Ireland.

He said his client was extremely remorseful for his actions and he handed up a letter of apology. “He is adamant he didn't mean to do it,” Mr Kelly said, adding Vinningland, “regrets it and can't explain it”.

Vinningland was due to be sentenced late last year but there was no Norwegian interpreter available on the day and he had to fly home again, the court heard.

He was supported in court today by his parents, brother and sister who all flew over from Norway. Letters were also handed up to court from family members, his employer and his therapist. He had €7500 in court for his victim as a token of his remorse.

“He is most anxious to go back to Norway and resume his employment,” Mr Kelly said.

Sentencing Vinningland, Judge Martin Nolan said: “It was a significant assault and the consequences for the injured party were significant.”

He said Vinningland's previous assault convictions “display a certain degree of intemperance and bad temper”, but he noted they were minor matters that were dealt with accordingly by the Norwegian courts, based on the sentences the 24-year-old received.

He said he was satisfied Vinningland was genuinely remorseful and said he did not think a custodial sentence was necessary. He handed down a three-year sentence which he suspended in full on condition that Vinningland pay his victim the sum of €10,000 immediately.

The judge also ordered Vinningland to pay a further sum of €7500 in the next 18 months and to be of good behaviour for three years.

“He caused a great degree of suffering to the injured party and he should be ashamed of that,” the judge said.

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