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23 May 2022

Woman goes on trial accused of assault at Longford pub

Woman goes on trial accused of assault at Longford pub

A pensioner has told a trial how a woman sunk her teeth into his arm as he tried to eject her from a pub in Edgeworthstown over three years ago.

Martin Cosgrove said he had been drinking a cup of coffee at the counter of Jack's Corner House pub on Main Street during the early hours of November 18, 2018 when two women entered the bar after closing.

Zinta Nawaz (32), of 23 Dunaree Lane, Bramble Wood, Kingscourt, Co Cavan has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Cosgrove and Kevin Rooney, a customer who attempted to diffuse the row, by striking him across the head with a pool cue.

The former retail worker was also charged with engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour.

Mr Cosgrove said he had been acting in a voluntary caretaker capacity at the time and was staying over at the premises as the pub's owner had been away at the time.

He said it had been around 1am when two women, one of which was the accused, entered the bar.

After being told the establishment was closed, he said Ms Nawaz became aggressive and refused to leave.

"She got very aggressive and came towards me," he said.
"I tried to push her towards the door and she grabbed my arm and stuck her teeth in my arm."

Mr Cosgrove was later treated by Midoc, an out of hours GP service, and later spent four nights in hospital after developing an infection in his arm.

At the first full day of a trial at Longford Circuit Criminal Court, Kevin Rooney said he had been waiting inside the pub with his brother for a taxi when the incident unfolded.

He described Ms Nawaz's demeanour as "angry and frustrated" in the aftermath of being told the pub was closed when observing Mr Cosgrove and the accused in close proximity to one another.

"I was trying to calm the situation because Martin is an elderly man and I ended up outside the premises trying to calm things down," he said.

"All of a sudden I felt a heavy impact on my head and noticed the lady (Ms Nawaz) had a pool cue."

Bartender Aiden Belton said he told Ms Nawaz the premises was closed for business when she entered before noticing a "kerfuffle" to his right with Mr Cosgrove and Ms Nawaz in "clinch".

He said he quickly put himself between Mr Cosgrove and the accused, claiming the pair were also jostling over a pool cue.

"She started shouting that she was in security and that she knew her rights," he said.

"Martin pleaded with her to go but she was having none of it."

Mr Belton said as he tried to pull Ms Nawaz by the ringlets of her trousers, the barman said he was then forced to put his fingers under her nose and pull the accused off the now 74-year-old.

"When we got to the door, Martin said to help him," said Mr Belton.

"I said: 'That's what I'm doing', but he said: 'No, she (Ms Nawaz) is biting me'."

Both Mr Belton and Mr Rooney before him said Ms Nawaz continued to bang on the door of the pub after the former made an emergency 999 call for garda assistance.

In a voluntary statement given to gardai on December 4, 2018 Ms Nawaz said she had entered the pub and asked for a drink and to play a game of pool.

She said after being declined, those inside began laughing at her and was told to leave.

Ms Nawaz claimed Mr Cosgrove suddenly became angry and put his hands on her shoulders.

"He put his arm around my neck," she said.

"I was afraid he would choke me, so I bit his arm."

Ms Nawaz's friend, Kitija Bolmane, said she saw the accused being pulled by the hair by Mr Cosgrove as he attempted to remove her from the premises.

She said moments later a man wearing a white shirt handed Mr Cosgrove a broken pull cue who then began to beat her friend.

The court was told Ms Nawaz sustained a broken finger and cut above her right eye.

Garda Justin Browne said when he arrived on the scene he observed Ms Nawaz in a "wide eyed and very agitated" state.

He said he noted Ms Nawaz's injuries and alleged she had been pulled by the hair and struck by a pool cue.

Garda Browne verified earlier evidence given by both Mr Rooney and Mr Cosgrove that they had both sustained head and arm injuries respectively.

However, he said no pool cue was ever recovered which could be linked to the incident.

State counsel Shane Geraghty BL, in his closing argument said Ms Nawaz's actions constitued a "barbaric use of force", stating her voluntary statement to gardai as "self serving" and a deliberate attempt to exonerate herself.

Defence counsel for Ms Nawaz, Kieran Collins BL, alleged there were "huge inconsistencies" in the State's evidence.

"You can't not have a doubt about Ms Nawaz's guilt and that the unlawful use of force is very much in doubt," he said.

The trial continues tomorrow when Judge Keenan Johnson is expected to deliver his final charge to a jury of seven men and five women.

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