An environmental engineer has been spared a jail sentence for assaulting a solicitor with an umbrella after they bumped into each other on a rainy evening in Dublin.
David Christie, aged 53, brought a private prosecution at Dublin District Court alleging he was assaulted by Frank Lunny, aged 73, of Stewarts Hall, Parnell Street, Dublin 1, at Capel Street, on July 27 last year.
Lunny, who is a director of the management company of Mr Christie's office building, was convicted and fined €100 and also ordered to pay prosecution costs.
It was a rainy and windy evening and both men had been walking with their umbrellas up at the time of the incident, Judge John O'Neill heard.
Mr Christie said he was the victim of a “cowardly” assault which has left him feeling “absolutely paranoid on the street when I see or hear someone behind me”.
He said he felt an "unmerciful bang" to his right leg from behind and that he was struck twice to his head with an umbrella by Mr Lunny. He told the court that they did not make contact with each other beforehand.
Mr Lunny denied assaulting him.
He claimed that his leg had been hurt after he and the complainant passed each other and he went after the solicitor to demand an apology. He told the court he just “swished” Mr Christie's umbrella with his own.
Judge O'Neill viewed CCTV footage and said he was satisfied there was an earlier incident and Lunny took offence and reacted badly. He also said that all Mr Christie's evidence had not been corroborated.
Judge O'Neill said the footage showed two parties passing and Mr Lunny coming after Mr Christie.
He said the footpaths on Capel Street are narrow but that did not give Lunny the right to run after Mr Christie and strike him.
The court heard that there had been High Court proceedings previously involving both men in connection with Mr Christie's offices.
The solicitor told the court he walked to Capel Street to his office car park and was carrying a rucksack of heavy files over his right shoulder and he had an umbrella in his right hand.
He said it was raining heavy and as he reached the junction with Parnell Street he felt an “unmerciful bang” on his right leg and he was hit a number of times on his head.
He said he was shocked when he turned to see it was Mr Lunny who had “carried out that assault behind my back”.
He said Mr Lunny attempted to hit him again and he alleged the defendant burst into expletives before he walked away quickly.
He said Lunny was a director of the management company of his office and he agreed there had been tension between them as a result of his office being destroyed with raw sewage which led to legal proceedings.
He said that after the attack he went to Gardai but they did not prosecute.
He saw his doctor afterwards and was in shock. He said he had trouble sleeping for which he was prescribed tablets.
He also obtained the CCTV footage from a shop on Capel Street, the court also heard.
He said that during the incident Lunny had called him a “fucking bastard”.
He agreed that he thought he was hit with such force the umbrella broke. He said that he had a large bump on the back of his head.
David Staunton BL put it to him that his accounts were inconsistent.
Mr Christie agreed that in a statement he gave he said Lunny also told him “Christie, you'll never get me off the board”.
He also said he was struck with an umbrella and when he told a garda he was punched with full force it was because it felt like that and he had felt Lunny's hand when he was struck.
Mr Lunny gave evidence saying he and his wife were on their way to a show.
She was walking ahead of him and he had his umbrella up.
He said he was walking close to the wall and he received a “dreadful kick” and he wanted an explanation and an apology.
He said he shouted at Mr Christie to stop and walked quickly for about 40 metres to catch up with him to remonstrate.
He said he wanted to ask why he had bumped into him and why did not stop to apologise.
He claimed he had not known it was Mr Christie until he got close and he just reached out and “swished” his umbrella.