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Dad hit man in chip shop after trip to Christening

A CHIP shop customer punched another patron to the ground, causing him to break his elbow in the fall, after a row that started over comments he made while they were queuing for food.

Robert O'Rourke (28) had gone to the takeaway after attending a Christening when he struck the victim in the face following a verbal altercation.

Blanchardstown District Court heard the accused, a cabinet maker, had first made a remark about another customer's food which the victim took to be "derogatory", when the incident took place.

Judge David McHugh said he would order O'Rourke to carry out community service instead of a jail sentence if he is found suitable.

O'Rourke, a father-of-two with an address at Rossvale, Portlaoise, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to a man at Main Street, Clondalkin, on April 30, 2012.

Sgt Maria O'Callaghan said the incident happened between 3am and 4am when the accused and the victim got into a verbal altercation.

This became physical when O'Rourke punched the victim to the face, causing him to fall heavily to the ground, where he landed on his left elbow.

The man, who is in his 30s, was treated in hospital for his injuries, also attended a physiotherapist and was off work for three months.

O'Rourke had been attending a Christening and went to a late-night chip shop afterwards, where he had asked a girl if he could have "a piece of her food", his solicitor Lorraine Stephens said.

This had been taken as a derogatory comment by the victim, although it was not.

Ms Stephens said the victim then made another comment which led the defendant to strike him.

Ms Stephens stressed that there was not any "follow up" violence after the punch and there was no "kicking or stamping" when the victim was on the ground.

"It wasn't a random act of violence," Ms Stephens said. "One word borrowed another which led to this."

She said O'Rourke accepted responsibility for his actions.

The judge adjourned the case to January 23 for a community service report.

Judge McHugh recommended 150 hours of community service instead of a three-month sentence, if O'Rourke is found suitable.