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Teen soccer girl wins s10k award over shop assault

A 14-year-old soccer international has been awarded €10,000 damages for assault against the owner of a Spar shop.

Security man Patrick Okorie told the Circuit Civil Court that Kirsty Hogan had kicked him between the legs when he attempted to shut her and "a gang of her pals" out of the Spar shop in Cumberland Road, Dublin, two-and-a-half years ago.

However barrister John Nolan said Miss Hogan had been stopped by Mr Okorie while she was passing the Spar on her way to another shop. An incident had developed and she had been kicked in the jaw by Mr Okorie.

Miss Hogan, who was then 14, said Mr Okorie had stopped her outside the Spar and told her she was not getting in. She had refused to give him her phone number about an earlier incident and had told Mr Okorie she was just passing the Spar on her way to another shop.

He had then kicked her under her jaw and chin and he said: "That will teach you not to do that again." She said she bled heavily and had gone home to her mother, who had taken her to the guards and then hospital.





Injured

When told that Mr Okorie would allege she had tried to kick him between the legs, Miss Hogan said: "No. That didn't happen."

Judge Joseph Mathews accepted the account of the incident given by Miss Hogan, of Railway Street, Dublin. He said that despite irreconcilable differences in the evidence he believed that in all reasonable probability Miss Hogan had been injured by a kick by Mr Okorie.

Judge Mathews told Mr Nolan that he could not accept Mr Okorie's denial of assault and assertion that under no circumstances had he, or any part of his body, touched Ms Hogan.

"He has stood by his argument but I find no evidence to suggest he is worthy of belief," the judge said.

Mr Nolan told the court that during garda investigations following the October 2008 incident Mr Okorie had signed an "adult caution" in Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station.

Judge Mathews said Garda Inspector Gerard Donnelly had recommended the adult caution rather than prosecution in court and he had been satisfied Mr Okorie had understood what he had been signing.

Mr Okorie had maintained at all times that any contact with Miss Hogan was wholly unintentional. He claimed he had signed the caution to avoid legal hassle.





Children

The judge said the defendant, Raymond Conboy, who traded as Spar Cumberland Road, and against whom the €10,000 damages award was made, had given a history of difficulties he had experienced from local children, including Kirsty.

Mr Nolan told the court Kirsty had played under-11 soccer for Ireland. He said she had also been published in Roddy Doyle's book Fighting Tuesdays, a collection of short stories.

hnews@herald.ie


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