Motorist punched pensioner who called him a donkey

A motorist who was called a donkey by another driver reacted by punching him in a shopping centre car park after a row about parking.

Pensioner Dermot Twomey was the injured party in the case. Sahbi Khorchani, aged 43, of Anglesea St Villas, Cork, denied the assault but was convicted after a trial at Cork District Court and ordered to do community service instead of going to jail.

Judge Olann Kelleher said of Khorchani: “He cannot take the law into his own hands whatever the provocation was.”

Dermot Twomey testified that Khorchani made an illegal turn on the first floor of the DouglasVillage Shopping Centre car park on Sunday afternoon July 13, 2014.

Mr Twomey said he later saw Khorchani getting out of his car.

“I called him a donkey for doing what he did. He struck me. I was taken totally by surprise. I was unprepared, undefended. I stood back and took a defensive position,” Dermot Twomey from Donnybrook said in court.

He said he had two cuts, one to the side of his face, one to his ear. Mr Twomey said he did not retaliate and strike Khorchani back and said any statement by the defendant to the contrary was a pack of lies.

Diarmuid Kelleher, defence solicitor, said in cross-examination: “You called a fellow human being a donkey. Is that something you condone?”

Mr Twomey replied: “I don’t think it merits being assaulted, do you? … I think it is a bit unfair on donkeys.”

Garda Marie Courtney said that when she spoke to Mr Twomey in the car park that day he was distressed, agitated, and hyper.

She said his injuries did not look like they required medical attention.

Garda Courtney said Khorchani later approached her and he also had a grazed injury to his face. Mr Twomey claimed it was self-inflicted.

Garda Courtney said the defendant told her he panicked and made the incorrect turn in the car park because Mr Twomey was beeping at him from behind.

The defendant said Mr Twomey called him “a fucking donkey, a black bastard” and said “go back to your own country”.

Mr Twomey said he only called him a donkey and that the other alleged comments were lies.

Khorchani claimed he struck out once but only in self-defence when Mr Twomey struck him.

There was disputed evidence about whether or not two of the defendant’s children were standing beside him during the row.

Judge Kelleher said: “It should not be before the court. He is going shopping with his two kids. Mr Twomey comes across as aggressive. He is beeping his horn, he verbally abused him, he said he only called him a donkey.

“This man [Khorchani] lost control in my view and technically assaulted Mr Twomey. Mr Twomey might have been the instigator but he [Khorchani] cannot take the law into his own hands and I convict,” Judge Kelleher said.

Insp Vincent O’Sullivan said the accused had four previous convictions for assault in 2009 and 2010. He is presently attending anger management.

Judge Kelleher said that Khorchani could do 200 hours community service instead of four months in prison. The defendant is from Tunisia, living in Ireland for the past 20 years and is an Irish citizen.


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