Cleaner ‘snapped’ and slapped girl (11) after drink poured on his wife

Redas Jonka (43) spared conviction over incident at SkyCourt shopping centre in Shannon

A man who said he ‘snapped’ and slapped an 11-year-old girl across the face with his open hand after he saw the child pour liquid over his wife has been spared a conviction. Photograph: iStock.

A man who said he ‘snapped’ and slapped an 11-year-old girl across the face with his open hand after he saw the child pour liquid over his wife has been spared a conviction. Photograph: iStock.

 

A man who said he “snapped” and slapped an 11-year-old girl across the face with his open hand after he saw the child pour liquid over his wife has been spared a conviction.

Redas Jokna (43), of Ballycasey Crescent, Shannon, Co Clare, pleaded guilty at Ennis District Court to assaulting the child on September 8th, 2018 at the SkyCourt shopping centre in Shannon.

Judge John King did not convict Mr Jokna, a father of one, and instead gave him the benefit of the Probation Act and ordered him pay to pay €500 to the court poor box.

He said this was due to gardaí confirming there had been provocation before the assault and because a number of businesses at the SkyCourt shopping centre provided letters of support for the Lithuanian, who along with his wife was working as a cleaner at the centre.

“You can’t hit an 11-year old child no matter what,” the judge said.

Tara Godfrey said her client was subject “to severe provocation” while at work and “snapped” when slapping the girl.

‘Bullying’

Ms Godfrey said there “had been a constant and consistent bullying of my client’s partner” by a group of young people who frequented the centre and that Mr Jokna took a distressed call from his crying wife shortly before the incident.

Mr Jokna said he was near the centre’s food court and saw a girl pour liquid on his wife’s head.

“I asked them to leave and they said ‘you Polish bastard, do you want some juice too?’ I got so angry I could barely remember anything,” he told gardaí.

Ms Godfrey said the provocation and abuse was ongoing and that as recently as this week the injured party in the case had jostled Mr Jokna’s wife’s basket while she was shopping in Lidl.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan said the injured party opted not provide a victim impact statement and he confirmed that there was extreme provocation in the case.

Ms Godfrey said Mr Jokna “sincerely regrets what he did” and “knows absolutely what he did was wrong”.

The court heard that one of the retailers that provided a letter in support of Mr Jokna said he was “very dependable, courteous and a diligent worker”.

The letter stated that the group of young people involved in the incident had been a constant nuisance around the centre for some time and were barred from it at the time of the incident.

Ms Godfrey said that Mr Jokna has lived in Ireland for eight years and has no previous convictions and that he and his partner have a 10-year-old child. She said he informed his employer about the incident but he did not lose his job.