Dundrum man accused of 'biting' mans earlobe at trial

The trial of a Dundrum man accused of biting off a bar manager's earlobe two years ago has begun today in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Jonathan Martin (aged 23) Barton Road East, Dundrum made admissions through his counsel that he assaulted Mr Jim Clarke, intentionally harming him outside Phibsborough House on June 06, 2006.

Mr Remy Farrell BL proposed that the only issue before the jury is whether or not his client acted in self defence.

Mr Clarke told prosecution counsel, Ms Eilis Brennan BL, that an employee complained to him about three lads "acting the maggot" at the back of the pub where he was hosting a 21st birthday party for his deceased friend's niece the night of the assault.

He said the staff member informed him the youths were "robbing drink and messing with seats,."

He told Ms Brennan that he took a dustpan and brush to clean up the birthday cake he saw the accused and two friends throwing around.

Mr Clarke said he knew he would have to throw the three young men out of his family establishment when the accused made a comment and pushed him into a stool as he scooped up the cake flung on the ground.

He said he heard Mr Martin "mumble something about going outside" when he returned to ask the accused to leave.

He said he noticed one of Mr Martin's companions took a Budweiser bottle out with him and turned to inquire about what he intended to do with it, when he was hit by the accused.

Mr Clarke said one of his customers witnessed the blow because he followed the group outside in case there was trouble.

Mr Clarke said this customer pulled the accused off him when the two fell grappling to the ground.

He said the fight diffused into verbal attacks for a while until Mr Martin "raised his hand" at him in the pub porch and the two fell onto the ground again, tripping over a pole.

Mr Clarke said the accused rolled on top of him and "bit straight in" to his left ear.

"He (Mr Martin) jumped back up because he had a bit of my ear in his mouth."

Mr Clarke said he knew he was in difficulty because he could feel blood squirting out the side of his head and ran into the pub to get a tea-towel.

He said the tea-towel filled with blood when he pressed it to his head.

He said he was taken to the Mater Hospital A&E Department, where he was kept over night and told the earlobe was too damaged to be re-attached.

He rejected Mr Farrell's suggestion that a witness saw his knuckles bound with duct tape adding that he wore a number of blue plasters to cover a wound he received handling kegs in the cellar the previous day.

Mr Farrell described as "improbable" the absence of customers in the smoking area during the "bout of fisticuffs" and put it to Mr Clarke that he gathered a few "cronies" before the altercation to sort the accused out.

Mr Clarke denied counsel's suggestion that there were several people helping him adding he was aware of only one customer intervening.

Detective Sergeant Robert O'Reilly told Ms Brennan that Mr Clarke was "in no position to make a statement" on his release from hospital the day after the fight.

He said the accused came to Mountjoy garda station on request on September 15, 2006 and handed him a written voluntary statement.

Ms Brennan read out the statement in which the Mr Martin claims he drank six cans of Budweiser and up to three shots of vodka and Red Bull before he got a taxi with his friends to the 21st birthday party in Phibsborough.

Mr Martin states the injured party approached him at the bar and told him aggressively to move out of the way so he could clean up some cake the accused was unaware fell on the ground.

Mr Martin said he told the barman "calmly" that he would move out of the way if he asked politely.

He said he asked Mr Clarke to step outside to resolve the matter but discovered several "bouncers" gathered beyond the smoking area at the front porch.

He said there was a brief scuffling with Mr Clarke, who returned inside, and the accused decided with his friends that "the best course of action was to go".

Mr Martin said the barman came back out and hit him.

"It was clear to me he was stronger, much stronger than me. In an effort to get away from him, I bit his ear."

Detective Sergeant O'Reilly agreed under cross-examination that he anticipated a "self-defence" angle from the beginning with this case.

The trial continues before Judge Frank O' Donnell and a jury of six men and six women.

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