Court hears off-licence employee had nose broken after being assaulted by a customer

The court heard an incident happened at the 'Fruit of the Vine' off-licence. Picture: Google Maps.

AN employee at an off-licence had his nose broken after being assaulted by a customer,  a court heard.

Details of an incident at the ‘Fruit of the Vine’ off-licence at Antrim’s Greystone Road emerged at Antrim Magistrates Court where Mark Laverty (23), of The Oaks in Randalstown, was present for sentencing on a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

A prosecutor said at 2.45pm on August 26 last year the defendant entered the shop and attempted to pay for a number of items but didn’t provide the correct amount of money.

The prosecutor said the injured party refused to proceed with the transaction and the defendant then hit him on the jaw with a closed fist.

She added it was alleged the injured party “went round the counter and grabbed the defendant and a tussle ensued” when the defendant is alleged to have kicked the injured party on the face, breaking his nose and causing bruising around his eyes.

The prosecutor said the injured party said he then hit the defendant around the face area with a closed fist “in self-defence”.

When interviewed, the defendant told police the injured party was “cheeky to him and he got clipped as he said something of a family nature that was sensitive that caused me to snap in anger”.

The prosecutor said the defendant accepted to police he punched the injured party “in the mouth” and that he had “thrown the first punch” but denied that he had kicked the injured party in the face saying he kicked out whilst falling to the ground in a tussle and was unsure if it “connected”.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said it was an early guilty plea on the basis of the defendant’s interview and he had not viewed CCTV.

He said the defendant admitted that after being “provoked” Laverty punched the other man in the face and tried to hit him “on his way down” but always denied the kick.

The case was adjourned to November 17 after District Judge Nigel Broderick said he would like to view the CCTV.

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