By Eimear Dodd
A man who subjected another man to an “attack in broad daylight in a supermarket” has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Colin Bale (37) of Ballisk Court, Donabate, Co. Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of assault causing harm at Donabate Shopping Centre on February 2, 2020.
Imposing sentence this week,Judge Orla Crowe said this was a “disgraceful state of affairs” in which the victim was subjected to an “attack in broad daylight in a supermarket” over something that may have been said to Bale’s then partner.
She said the injuries caused to the victim were an aggravating feature of the case.
Judge Crowe noted the mitigating factors include the guilty plea, the absence of relevant convictions and that he has not come to garda attention since.
She imposed a sentence of 18 months suspended in full for three years. Judge Crowe said the court wished to give Bale a chance and hoped that a suspended sentence hanging over him will encourage him to modify his behaviour.
Garda Carol Comiskey told Jennifer Jackson BL, prosecuting, that gardai were called to Donabate Shopping Centre at 3pm on the day following a report of two men fighting.
Gardai met the injured party when they arrived. He told them he had left his bike outside SuperValu while doing his shopping.
When he was standing at the self checkout queue, the injured party saw Bale outside. There was a verbal dispute. Bale’s former partner then took the victim’s bike and walked away with it.
The victim left his shopping and the store to retrieve his bike. Bale came up to him and punched him in the head.
The injured party grabbed Bale and swung him around to try to prevent him hitting him again. Bale punched the victim again, striking his left hand and the side of his face.
Security became involved and Bale left the scene. The victim retrieved his bike and was given first aid for cuts to his head and ear while waiting for gardai to arrive. He was later taken to hospital and treated for a fractured finger.
Bale was identified from CCTV. He was arrested and answered all questions when interviewed.
He told gardai that he was defending himself after the injured party grabbed him first and apologised. He said he hit the victim with a ‘ring piece’.
The court was told that a ‘ring piece’ is similar to a knuckleduster, but it was not clear from CCTV what Bale had on his hand.
The court heard Bale has one previous minor conviction from 2013. He pleaded guilty to this offence on a trial date.
A victim impact statement was read to the court on behalf of the injured party. He said he moved from Donabate as it is small and he was in fear. He said he has been left with facial scars and the incident has affected his mental health.
Gda Comiskey agreed with Patrick Jackson BL, defending, that both parties were known to each other. It was further accepted that there was a prior interaction between Bale and the victim.
The witness also accepted that Bale told gardai that his former partner’s honour had been impugned and that she was not a calming influence on the situation.
It was agreed that there has been no interaction between the parties since this incident.
Mr Jackson noted that the mitigation of an early plea is not available to his client, but asked the court to note that his client did enter a guilty plea. He also handed in letters from Bale and his father, who is dealing with health issues.
He asked the court to take into account his client’s apology and that there has been no interaction with the victim since the incident. He suggested this was a “one off incident” and asked the court to consider non-custodial options when sentencing.
His client has two children and has a work history, but is currently caring for this father.