A Parisian has pleaded guilty to assaulting a French colleague, grabbing her around the throat, in a bedroom, on the night of her farewell party in Cork.
The victim had been the defendant’s line manager at the Apple prooduction plant in Cork.
The case was listed for trial at Cork District Court yesterday, but Jean Charbonnier, aged 31, formerly of Coppingers View, Pope’s Quay, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault, causing harm, to Julie Clermont, aged 24, at an apartment in Cork City.
Judge Aingil Ní Chondúin noted the accused had no previous convictions and said he would not be jailed. Instead of imposing the maximum possible fine of €2,500, the judge said she would prefer if the defendant paid that sum in compensation to the injured party, and he would then be given the benefit of a dismissal, under the Probation of Offenders Act.
Solicitor Frank Buttimer said the accused would be glad of the opportunity, as he had a real fear of being jailed. The defendant apologised through his solicitor.
Detective Garda Padraig Harrington said the injured woman was at a party in a friend’s apartment and fell asleep in a bedroom at around 2am.
The accused had been drinking elsewhere and did not attend the party.
“Jean Charbonnier entered the room and caught her around the throat and started squeezing.
“She was caught for breath and could not scream,” the officer said.
“Mr Charbonnier is alleged to have threatened the injured party with a knife, before other partygoers came into the bedroom and broke up the incident.
“The injured party had bruising around her neck and was brought to Mercy University Hospital for treatment.”
Det Garda Harrington said the accused co-operated with the investigation and said he did not have a knife, but picked up something like a make-up pencil in the room and was trying to frighten the injured party.
Mr Buttimer said that while the accused admitted putting his hands to her throat, he denied going into the room with that intention, and had actually intended to air the differences between them. The solicitor said the injured party was Charbonnier’s line manager and there had been some issues between them at work.
Ms Clermont said she was leaving Apple to travel the world. Some weeks beforehand, she noted the defendant had become distant and she had tried to talk to him, but it had not worked out.
She recalled going to a bedroom, for a rest, in the apartment. She said she woke to feel enormous pressure around her neck.
“I tried to struggle. I had no strength. I tried to understand why Jean was doing this. I realised he had a knife in his hand. I could see it coming closer to my face. I tried to scream. My friends were in the living room,” she said in a victim impact statement. She was petrified and eventually got the strength to scream. Her friends came to her assistance.
Ms Clermont said the attack had an unbearably oppressive effect on her.
Charbonnier is not presently working and is living in Dublin.
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