Two women have been found guilty of assault after a row allegedly sparked on the dancefloor of a nightclub when one defendant began dancing with the boyfriend of the other defendant.
Magdalena Bak of 48 Radharc an Bhaile in Bandon had denied assaulting Leah Downing in the smoking area of The Hub nightclub in the town, while Heather Cleary, of 12 Belfry Heights in Bandon, had denied assault causing harm to Ms Bak in the same venue.
Bandon District Court heard that on July 29 last year Bak, 25, and her friend, Claire Hodge, were on the dancefloor at The Hub where they were dancing near Cleary, who was at the venue with Ms Downing.
Both Cleary, 20, and Ms Downing alleged that Bak had approached and touched Cleary’s boyfriend, including putting her hand up his jumper, and that later Bak walked past him and stroked his cheek. Bak and Ms Hodge both denied this happened.
Bak also denied an allegation from Cleary and Ms Downing that in the smoking area of the club, where the assaults occurred, she called Cleary names including a “psychobitch”. Bak was alleged to have pulled Ms Downing’s hair, forcing her down towards the ground, while it was alleged that Cleary struck Bak.
Bak told Judge James McNulty that after she was assaulted, she reported the matter immediately to security staff, then went home and then went to the Garda station to report it, while also attending Southdoc, which referred her to Cork University Hospital. Medical reports showed she had a broken nose and that she sustained bruising to her face and shins.
Bak said she did not know the identity of either Cleary or Ms Downing, and only found out their names afterwards by looking on Facebook.
The alleged assault by Bak against Ms Downing was reported some months later. In a Garda interview, Cleary said she did put her hand out during the altercation and hit Bak, but denied breaking her nose, saying she did not have that kind of strength. Her solicitor, Plunkett Taaffe, said she felt very protective towards Ms Downing.
The incident was captured on CCTV, which was viewed by Judge McNulty. He said the court had no doubt that Cleary struck Bak, causing injury which constituted harm. He also said the court had no doubt that Bak assaulted Ms Downing. Neither Bak nor Cleary had any previous convictions.
Judge McNulty convicted them both on the respective charges, but adjourned the matter until November 1 so both women could be introduced to the Probation Service. He said he would request a probation report on both to be provided in court on January 17 before determining penalty.