A PUBLICAN denied spitting in the face of a 66-year-old man who was walking into his own home in Ballinlough but he has been convicted and fined €500 for the assault.
Tony Campion, aged 54, publican of The Silver Key, Ballintemple, Cork, first denied the charge of assaulting Patrick Bresnan on May 20, 2020, but was convicted after a trial at Cork District Court.
Today he appealed the case to Cork Circuit Appeals Court and there was a complete re-hearing of the case before another judge. However, after hearing the evidence in this second trial, Judge Helen Boyle reached the same conclusion as the district court judge and convicted Tony Campion of assault. Judge Boyle affirmed the order of the district court and imposed the same €500 fine.
Tony Campion denied that he was even present outside Patrick Bresnan’s home at noon on May 20 two years ago and said he was in his pub working at the time as could be borne out by CCTV, 20 staff who were also on duty, and customers present.
State solicitor, John Brosnan, asked Mr Campion if such witnesses or CCTV were in court for the appeal and he said they were not.
Injured party, Patrick Bresnan, testified:
“There is a history between us. The history relates to a planning decision. I was an engineering inspector with Cork City Council.”
Mr Bresnan said that a report that he made on Mr Campion’s activities - related to the time of a performance by Ed Sheeran at Pairc Uí Chaoimh in 2018 - “ignited his loathing for me.”
He said that at noon on May 20, 2020, he had just returned home from a local shop when Mr Campion approached him at the gate of his home, first gesticulating wildly and then spitting in his face. He said he was very upset and got alcohol wipes to clean his face. He removed his shirt and jumper and put them into a plastic bag in case they were required for forensic examination.
Defence barrister, Ben Shorten, said there was no forensic evidence before the court and that the appellant would provide his DNA if required.
Mr Shorten put it to the injured party that he was not acting in his role as a then employee of Cork City Council when he reported on Mr Campion, and Mr Shorten said he had a written document to that effect. Mr Bresnan said he had a written authorisation showing that he was acting for the local authority. Judge Boyle said that this issue was ‘ridiculous’ in the context of a case relating to whether or not Mr Campion assaulted Mr Bresnan.
Mr Shorten asked his own client if he spat at Mr Bresnan, who is now aged 68. Mr Campion said he did not. Asked for his view on someone spitting at another person, he said it was childish and disgusting.
Mr Campion said of the animosity between himself and the complainant:
“He (Mr Bresnan) has taken a personal grudge against me. He is barred out of my premises. He intimidates me and harasses me on a daily basis.”
After hearing the evidence from both sides, Judge Boyle said: “I am satisfied that what Mr Bresnan said, did occur – I am satisfied that the events that occurred, did occur in the manner in which they were alleged. And I proceed to convict.”
Mr Shorten said the publican is a substantial employer in the area, employing up to 65 people. Mr Brosnan, solicitor for the prosecution, said this conviction for assault would not hinder Mr Campion in holding a licence to run his licensed premises.