A man has pleaded guilty to an assault on a retail staff member on the streets of Edgeworthstown in September, 2019, but insists that he only punched the man once.
Aiden Phelan Emper, Ballinacarrigy, Co Westmeath, is charged with assaulting Ciarán Garry who was walking home from his job at an Edgeworthstown supermarket on September 13 at approximately 10pm.
“It started in Supervalu, where I work,” Mr Garry told the court.
“He said he wanted to take alcohol but would come back with the money. I said that’s not how it works and there was an argument between us. Security escorted him out.
“While I was walking home, the man and a young boy came up to me. He hit me and the young boy hit me. There were a number of hits from both of them.”
The argument in Supervalu was at seven or eight o’clock that evening, he clarified. There was a gap of at least two hours between it and the assault.
“Did he lie in wait for this man?” Judge Hughes asked.
Mr Phelan explained that his girlfriend’s son had told him Mr Garry was walking down the road after he finished work. He said that he had returned to the house and told them what had happened.
“What happened in the shop?” Judge Hughes asked.
“I had €5 and normally they let me off and I bring it back up. I was buying four cans for €7 but I only had €5. When I’ve been short before, they’ve let me off because they know me,” said Mr Phelan.
“How often have you done that?” asked Judge Hughes.
“More than ten times,” said Mr Phelan.
Mr Garry said that he has worked in the supermarket for three and a half years and had never seen Mr Phelan before.
“And I never saw him before either. He was goading me. I asked his name and he said ‘I’ll give you my address if you want too’ and laughed at me,” said Mr Phelan.
“The security guard came over and he was in the middle of telling me he was an ex amateur boxer,” Mr Garryexplained, “I was laughing at the situation, not at him.”
“This is a serious case. It’s a nasty, nasty case,” said Judge Hughes.
Solicitor for Mr Phelan, Frank Gearty, explained that his client was pleading guilty to the assault but said it was one punch only.
“That is irrelevant,” Judge Hughes snapped.
Mr Gearty explained that his client’s personal circumstances are difficult but that he could offer €500 by way of compensation and, if Judge Hughes decided to increase that to €1,000, he could have it in two months.
“I won’t send him to prison but he’s going to give you €1,000,” Judge Hughes said, addressing Mr Garry.
Mr Phelan was ordered to pay the compensation in full by July 17 and will receive a small fine thereafter.