Woman almost blind in one eye after allegedly being glassed

Defendant denies assault causing serious harm in nightclub on St Patrick’s Day

Ms Mooney has undergone four operations since the incident and now has only 10 per cent vision in the eye, said consultant ophthalmic surgeon Paul Connell.  Photograph: Reuters

Ms Mooney has undergone four operations since the incident and now has only 10 per cent vision in the eye, said consultant ophthalmic surgeon Paul Connell. Photograph: Reuters

 

A jury has heard how a 25-year-old woman was left almost blind in one eye after allegedly being glassed in a nightclub by a creche worker on St Patrick’s Day.

Natasha Mooney, from Coolock, Dublin, told the court on the opening day of the trial that Emma Hammond (21) of Poppintree, Ballymun, shouldered her a number of times before the alleged assault took place.

Ms Hammond pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing serious harm. Ms Mooney said she approached the accused after being shouldered by her in the early hours of the morning on March 18th, 2013, in Dusk nightclub, Coolock.

Before Ms Mooney could ask why Ms Hammond had shouldered her, she said she was struck in the face with what she thought was a punch. She said the pair then engaged in a physical confrontation, grabbing each other by the hair and both landing a number of blows until a bouncer intervened.

On leaving the nightclub Ms Mooney said she got into a taxi and told the driver that his passenger side wing mirror was missing. She said that the driver told her that the mirror was there and it was then she realised that her eye was damaged. The taxi took her to Beaumont Hospital, from where she was transferred to the Mater and underwent an operation.

The trial also heard from the consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Paul Connell, who operated on Ms Mooney on the night. Mr Connell said that he saw approximately five such injuries every year as the result of people being hit with glass objects. He said he would categorise Ms Mooney’s injury as “severe loss of vision in the eye”. Ms Mooney has undergone four operations since the incident and now has 10 per cent vision in the eye, said Mr Connell.

The jury was shown CCTV footage from the nightclub on the night. Ms Mooney told the court that the footage said it showed the moment before she was struck with the glass. She also identified the bouncer who broke up the incident, falling on the glass as he approached to separate them.

She said the CCTV footage from earlier in the night showed Ms Hammond smirking at her before intentionally walking into her and then laughing. Garnet Orange SC, defending, said that the footage did not show that but it did show Ms Mooney bumping into someone else in the nightclub unconnected with the case.

Under cross-examination, Ms Mooney said that a friend of Ms Hammond’s had pulled her aside and asked Ms Mooney not to fight the accused. Mr Orange asked Ms Mooney why the friend of Ms Hammond would ask her not to fight her if there was not an intention or threat to fight.

Ms Mooney replied that she did not know and denied saying, “we’ll wait until we get you outside” to Ms Hammond before the incident. Mr Orange said the CCTV footage showed Ms Hammond leaving various parts of the nightclub when Ms Mooney would arrive.

Ms Mooney agreed with Mr Orange that there had been a long-running dispute between the families of the defendant and complainant. Mr Orange said to Ms Mooney that “it was a complete and very unfortunate accident. Emma Hammond is not to blame and you are entirely the author of your own misfortune”.

The case continues before Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury.