A 43-year-old cleaner slapped an 11-year-old girl across the face with his open hand after he saw the child pour liquid over his distressed wife at the Skycourt Shopping Centre in Shannon last September.
At Ennis District Court today, Redas Jokna of Ballycasey Crescent, Shannon, pleaded guilty to the assault of the local child on September 8 last.
Both Mr Jokna and his wife work as cleaners for a cleaning firm at the shopping centre and solicitor for Ms Jokna, Tara Godfrey said that her client is subject “to severe provocation” while at work.
Ms Godfrey said that the two have had difficulties with this girl who is part of a group of children who frequent the Skycourt Shopping Centre.
Ms Godfrey said that Mr Jokna had taken a call from his wife on September 8 last seeking his help.
In a statement to gardaí, Mr Jokna said that his wife was crying and distressed over the phone concerning a group of children and she told him “they are still abusing me”.
Mr Jokna said that he arrived near the food-court where he saw a girl pour water from a drink container on his wife’s head.
He said: “I asked them to leave and they said ‘you Polish bastard, do you want some juice too?’ I got so angry I could barely remember anything.”
Mr Jokna said after the incident, one of the children started crying and they all walked out.
Mr Jokna told gardaí that his wife had juice on her chest and she had bits of pizza on her pants.
Ms Godfrey said that the provocation is continuing right up to this week where “inflated condoms are being thrown at Mr Jokna, words are being expressed to him and he is suffering quite an amount of abuse”.
Concerning the assault on the 11-year-old, Mr Jokna told gardaí:
I regret my actions, I am not proud of them.
Ms Godfrey said that Mr Jokna should not have slapped this girl and can’t blame the child for what happened.
Ms Godrey said that Mr Jokna has lived here for a number of years and has no previous convictions.
She said that the security available at the shopping centre has not tried to protect this man’s partner or himself.
Ms Godfrey said that after the incident, the man informed his bosses but he didn’t lose his job.
Ms Godfrey said that she had a letter in court from his employer stating that they consider Mr Jokna to be a good, honourable, hard-working member of staff.
The case was adjourned to July 10 to allow the 11-year-old girl provide a victim impact statement to the court.