An “angry” civil servant told a young waiter that he “would take the head off him” during an altercation in a restaurant last year, Donegal District court heard.
Martin Mulhern (61), Rosearl, The Glebe, Donegal Town also “shoved Gary Breslin up against the bar of Kitty Kelly’s restaurant”, Killybegs, after “roaring at a young waitress” on Easter Sunday, April 1 last year.
In the letter sent after the incident, which the judge described as “aggressive and insulting” the defendant told the owner of the restaurant that her waiter should “keep his mouth shut and engage his brain instead”.
He admitted telling the waiter he would take the head off him, but only because the waiter approached him in a “threatening and intimidating fashion”.
Only that the defendant’s wife was present, the waiter would not have got away with his alleged actions, the letter added.
The letter also alleged that Gary Breslin had accosted the defendant saying, “now big man what are you going to do?”
In a statement, Gary Breslin told the court he was asked to deal with a situation where waitress Chloe O’Keeney was upset.
The defendant told him he “would take the head off him” and “f…k this” before shoving him up against the bar.
He then threw €50 across the bar; the total bill was €64 or €65 and he left with his wife. Under cross examination witness denied that he was in “Mr Mulhern’s face” and stormed towards the defendant.
Restaurant owner Donna Dupuy said she had just come back from a funeral when told of the threats against her employee.
Two days later, she got a letter from the defendant.
Waitress Chloe O’Keeney said defendant was shouting at her, was rude and grabbed the menus off her after he shouted for the menus to be brought over.
In shock, she told Gary Breslin “acting manager”, what happened, who said he would “sort it out”.
Martin Mulhern told the court he had booked a meal with his wife and “not very much happened”, he was trying to get the attention of the “wee girl”.
He said he had waved at her and maybe he had raised his voice to get her attention, which he did.
The defendant denied shouting that the couple wanted dessert after finishing their first two courses.
He said he could not understand why she took offence.
The defendant said Gary Breslin was “marching over towards us in an aggressive manner”.
“STUCK IN MY FACE”
“He was stuck in my face and demanding to know why you were shouting at my staff, who do you think are”?
Defendant said he felt threatened, got up and went to the middle of the floor so “I could defend myself, that is how aggressive he was.
“I did tell him that if he did not take his head out of my face that I would take the head off him.”
Defendant felt aggrieved and put his hands on the counter, took out €50 and left the bar.
Judge Kilrane said Gary Breslin came across as a civilized young man who was checking out a complaint from a colleague.
The defendant was truculent, difficult and stubborn and “not in a good mood”; the shouting at the waitress “unacceptable”. Judge Kilrane added:
“I will take your head off, imagine saying that in front of your wife.”
The judge said he found the facts proved.
A charge of failing to pay a bill was struck out.
Solicitor Rory O’Brien said his client was a civil servant who had never been in trouble in any shape or form; his wife was not in court due to ill health.
It was just one day and “one wrong event”.
Judge Kilrane said he would not record a formal conviction, observing there was “no remorse at all”.
The judge said all charges would be struck out on payment of €1,000 to the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
€500 was produced in court and the case was adjourned to October 2 for the balance.
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