The case was heard at Naas Circuit Court on Thursday.
The events of a night in the Kildare town nightclub Tiger Lily were replayed at Naas District Court last Thursday, June 7, where a mother of nine appeared on charges of a breach of the Public Order Act and of assault.
The charges were contested by the defendant, and she was represented by solicitor Conal Boyce. While many of the essential elements of the events of the night were agreed, the defendant and the alleged victim had different emphasis on the events, and on who was the aggressor. Both parities had drink taken on the night which was November 22, 2015.
Judge Bernadette Owens heard evidence from Lorraine Edwards that on the night in question she was verbally attacked in the bathroom of the nightclub by the defendant, Edel Clancy (37), with an address listed at Connagh Close, Coolanock Glebe, Kildare Town.
In evidence Ms Edwards said she couldn’t quite recall was Ms Clancy said, except that “maybe she thought I was saying something bad about her”.
She said that as the defendant exited the bathroom she said: “This is not over”.
Later, as she exited the nightclub, she said that Ms Clancy “came out of the darkness, grabbed me” and assaulted her.
The background to the incident was that Ms Edwards works in a salon run by a sister of Ms Clancy’s then husband.
The couple had married just two months before the events that were at the heart of the case.
There had been a falling out between the siblings shortly before the couple married, although the cause of the rift was, the defendant said in evidence, unknown. “Sarah just developed some problem with me,” she said.
Sarah was her then husband’s sister, and Ms Edwards’ boss. Unfortunately, the marriage was not going well at that stage, and sadly the couple have since separated.
Earlier in the same night, Ms Edwards had approached the defendant and congratulated her on her wedding. Ms Edwards said that she had hoped her boss would not be annoyed at her for speaking to the defendant.
In the defendant’s telling of the incident, while she was in a cubicle in the bathroom she overheard some women talking in a neighbouring cubicle.
She told the court that one of them, who she identified as Ms Edwards, said “Did you she the face on her when I said ‘congratulations on your wedding’?”
“Sarah was right about her,” was another snippet she reported that she’d heard in the cubicle.
She said that she exited the cubicle and told Ms Edwards: “You don’t know me.”
After the nightclub ended, Ms Clancy said that she, her husband and a friend, Diane Wallace, who is known to both parties, had gone across the road to the chipper, and that when she saw Ms Edwards exit the nightclub she went back over to her to ask what was being said about her in the salon.
“My marriage was a mess after two months,” the defendant said, becoming visibly upset. “A lot of things were being said about me around the town.
“I just wanted to know what was being said about me.”
Her solicitor Conal Boyce suggested to her: “In hindsight, maybe that was not the best idea?”
“No,” she agreed with him.
In evidence, Ms Clancy said that she said to Ms Edwards: “You know what, you’re not worth it!” She said she put her hand up to Ms Edwards, who grabbed it, and grabbed her hair.
At a certain point Ms Edwards bit the defendant’s finger which caused bleeding. This was agreed by both sides, although Ms Edwards claimed she had only bit her finger when the defendant put it in her mouth.
Diane Wallace gave evidence that although she didn’t see the start of physical row, she was in the cubicle in the bathroom with the defendant and, although she didn’t remember the exact words used, she took it to mean that the women were speaking about the defendant and “making a mockery” of her.
Once she and Ms Clancy’s husband saw that a row had developed, they separated them. Both had become entangled in each other’s hair.
Ms Clancy admitted that in an attempt to disentangle herself from Ms Edwards she had hit her on the back of her head.
There was CCTV of the incident which was, Judge Owens said, inconclusive about who started the physical altercation, althoughthe Judge said that it was clear that Ms Edwards’ feet were at one point “almost off the ground”.
She also noted that Ms Clancy was very angry as she approached Ms Edwards.
She found the defendant guilty.
Mr Boyce said that his client is 37 years of age with nine children, one of whom is autistic. He emphasised that his client’s life was “in turmoil” at the time, “and perhaps third parties should have left them be to work on it,” although he specified he wasn’t referring to Ms Edwards.
He said that her personal financial circumstances weren’t great, earning €420 in lone parent allowance and getting €75 maintenance.
Judge Owens said that she had considered getting a Probation Report, but felt that the incidents reflected the circumstances of the time. She fined the defendant a total of €350.