A man alleged to have held a co-worker in a headlock until he lost consciousness has been refused bail after a court heard he may have been planning to leave the country.
Filip Lukic, a 26-year-old Croatian national who has been working in the Ballydesmond factory run by Munster Joinery, is alleged to have caused the injuries which left his co-worker, Kyle Walsh, in the high dependency unit of Cork University Hospital.
Mr Lukic, of 25 Castlefalls, Ross Road in Killarney, appeared before Bandon District Court today on a charge of assault causing harm, with Detective Garda Peter Nolan telling Judge James McNulty that a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and a more serious charge may follow.
Objecting to bail under Section 2 of the Bail Act, citing the seriousness of the charge, Det. Garda Nolan said it was alleged that last Wednesday an initial verbal dispute between Mr Lukic and his co-worker, Kyle Walsh, escalated to a physical altercation.
Det. Garda Nolan said it is alleged Mr Lukic caught Mr Walsh in a headlock and maintained the hold until his co-worker lost consciousness. The court heard two co-workers went to Mr Walsh's aid but that they could not break the hold Mr Lukic had on Mr Walsh, with the hold in place until Mr Walsh went limp.
It is also claimed that when Mr Lukic released his grip his co-worker slumped to the ground, "hitting his head severely off the concrete floor".
The injured party was taken to Cork University Hospital, where he is in the high dependency unit with a fractured skull and two bleeds to the brain. Det. Garda Walsh later told the court he was conscious and talking but was still "of concern".
The court heard the area where the incident occurred is well covered by CCTV and that after Mr Lukic was first arrested outside his home in Killarney at 3.05pm on Thursday he had been interviewed twice, during which he admitted grabbing Kyle Walsh's neck and admitting that the injuries were his fault.
The court heard that when he was charged at 1.47am on Friday with the offence Mr Lukic had replied: "I am sorry. I apologise and I hope Kyle will be OK."
Det. Garda Nolan said Mr Lukic had not been at his home - provided to workers by Munster Joinery - when gardaí first visited it and that with the intervention of a third party they met Mr Lukic outside the property later on Wednesday.
The judge was told Mr Lukic had €5,895 in his possession, having withdrawn all the money he had from a bank account in Killarney at around midday on Thursday.
Mr Lukic first came to Ireland having been recruited online by his employer on April 11 last and Det. Garda Nolan said he had no ties or assets to this country. The court heard in garda interview Mr Lukic said he intended to stay in Ireland working for one year before returning home.
Det. Garda Nolan said Mr Lukic had also admitted researching leaving Ireland by ferry to Holland or by plane to France. He was in possession of his Croatian ID card, which permitted travel within the EU.
"If granted bail the fear is he would not be available for trial and will leave the jurisdiction," Det. Garda Nolan said.
Mr Lukic's solicitor, Plunkett Taaffe, said Croatia was a member of the EU and a European Arrest Warrant would apply, if it emerged. The court also heard Mr Lukic's uncle had died two days before the incident.
Judge McNulty said bail could be granted but it would need Mr Lukic to provide his own bond of €5,000 and two independent sureties, both of €5,000, with half in cash, to be approved by the court.
"He is facing a serious charge, he could be facing a more serious charge and it looks like he was fleeing the jurisdiction," Judge McNulty said.
Mr Lukic was remanded in custody and was granted legal aid, with the matter likely to be mentioned next Monday before Clonakilty District Court.
This story first appeared on IrishExaminer.com.