Man awarded €5k over row about seating at wedding

File photo.

A row over seating at a wedding resulted in a civil court award of more than €5,000.

The civil case was heard by Judge Sean O'Donnabhain this week in Clonakilty, where plaintiff, Myles McSwiney, said he had attended a family wedding with his wife at the Dunmore House Hotel on August 12, 2016. After the meal had finished they both sat at a table as the area was being cleared for dancing.

He claimed he received a tap on the shoulder from the defendant, his sister-in-law Stephanie Desmond, of Ballycatten, Timoleague in Co Cork.

"She said 'you are sitting in my seat'," Mr McSwiney told the court, adding that he responded: "I don't see your name on it".

"With that, I got a drink thrown in my face."

Mr McSwiney claimed that it was a large gin and tonic and said: "I could feel the burning in my eyes."

The court heard that later Mr McSwiney and his wife were dancing past part of the room where Ms Desmond and her husband, Finbarr O'Sullivan, were seated, when Mr McSwiney said to the other man: "This isn't over."

The plaintiff alleged Ms Desmond leapt up and grabbed him by the tie and was "squeezing my neck".

The court heard later medical examination showed Mr McSwiney had stiffness and pain in his neck. A local doctor said it was possible the reddening of Mr McSwiney's eyes were caused by an alcoholic drink.

Mr McSwiney's wife, Ann-Marie, said the incident where her husband's tie was grabbed was "surreal".

Ms Desmond had launched a counterclaim, claiming she had been kicked under the table and this had caused her to spill the drink, a claim Mr McSwiney denied.

Giving evidence in court, she said her glass on the table had been half-filled with water and she had wanted to retrieve it.

Ms Desmond said she told her brother-in-law: "You are very ignorant to take our seats." She claimed Mr McSwiney retorted "are your names on them?" and that she then felt "a sharp kick on my right shin", causing her to fall forward, with the glass spilling on Mr McSwiney's shirt.

She denied grabbing Mr McSwiney later on the dance floor and her husband said of the second incident: "Stephanie never touched him."

Judge O'Donnabhain said he was satisfied Ms Desmond did assault Mr McSwiney and she had "initiated the aggression". He said he also believed Ms Desmond caught Mr McSwiney by the tie but that the injuries were minor.

He dismissed the counterclaim and ordered Ms Desmond to pay Mr McSwiney €5,450 plus costs.



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