No jail for shop staff who hit customer after he allegedly spat during lockdown

ireland
No Jail For Shop Staff Who Hit Customer After He Allegedly Spat During Lockdown
Judge Martin Nolan said while it appeared on the video there had been a certain amount of provocation the accused men's reaction was grossly disproportionate.
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Fiona Ferguson

Two shop staff who assaulted a man they believed was attempting to steal items from their workplace have been given a suspended sentence.

Dean Bheemal (33) and Victor Carvalho (23) both punched the man multiple times after CCTV appeared to show the victim spitting in the shop after they confronted him in April 2020.

A defence barrister acknowledged the reaction of the two accused had been “unjustifiable”, but outlined this incident had occurred at the beginning of the first Covid lockdown when people were concerned, fearful and less was known of how it was transmitted.

Bheemal, of Adair Terrace, St Joseph Parade, and Carvalho, of Blessington Street, both in Dublin 7, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the man causing him harm at Spar, Mountjoy Street, on April 26th, 2020. The two men had gathered a total of €3,000 which they brought to court.

Confrontation

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Judge Martin Nolan said there had been a confrontation between the parties and while it appeared on the video there had been a certain amount of provocation the accused men's reaction was grossly disproportionate.

He said the assault, during which the victim was hit many times, had been “very primitive” involving punching only and no use of weapons such as knives or bottles.

He noted the accused men had pleaded guilty, co-operated with the investigation and brought €1,500 each to court. He said it seemed unlikely they would come before the court again.

“I think it would be unjust to imprison them at this point,” said Judge Nolan, and imposed a two-year suspended sentence on both men. He ordered that the €3,000 be paid over to the victim and that a further €1,000 be gathered by each of the men within the next 18 months.

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