Rifle-butt victim claims ‘I had to learn to walk again’

A psychological report has been requested on a Laois man convicted of repeatedly striking a Polish man in the face with the butt of a rifle.

A psychological report has been requested on a Laois man convicted of repeatedly striking a Polish man in the face with the butt of a rifle.

The incident arose out of a dispute between two sets of brothers, Anthony Bowe, Rathdowney, and Barry Bowe, Shanahoe; and Polish men David Marszelewski and Piotr Marszelewski.

On O’Moore Street in Rathdowney on October 30, 2011, after Anthony Bowe’s front window was smashed with a rock, Barry Bowe hit David Marszelewski repeatedly in the face with a rifle, while Anthony Bowe hit Piotr Marszelewski with his fists. Before Portlaoise Circuit Court last October, Anthony Bowe pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, and Barry Bowe pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm.

The case was adjourned in October for probation and community service reports, and for medical reports on David Marszelewski. When the case returned to the recent Circuit Court on April 29, a letter from Dr Niall O’Doherty said that Mr David Marszelewski, who underwent craniology surgery, had made a good recovery, but still has “issues”. He suffered a loss of vision and a loss of balance, experienced headaches, and had been referred to an eye clinic. His wife also claimed he was slow to respond.

State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly read out further reports in which it was said that Mr Marszelewski had been left with poor vision and a skull defect and would need help returning to work as a security guard.

However, defence for Barry Bowe, Mr Colm Hennessy said there were a number of contradictions in the victim impact report. Mr Hennessy said that Mr Marszelewski had claimed “I had to learn to walk, think, and read again”, but two consultant neurosurgeons had used the phrase “a good recovery”.

Remarked Judge Tony Hunt: “People who suffer serious injuries are not the most objective observers, for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t detract from the seriousness of the assault.”

Mr Hennessy said that his client did not resile from the seriousness of the offence, but as the probation report on Barry Bowe said that “a comprehensive psychological report could be of use”, Mr Hennessy told Judge Hunt that a report of that nature would be of assistance.

“I don’t know what difference it will make,” said Judge Hunt. “I’m not convinced it’s necessary, but I will defer to the probation officer.”

Mr Piotr Marszelewski took the witness box to give his own victim impact evidence. Admitting that he “didn’t get much injuries”, he said that he had suffered a broken lip and a few bruises and had to go to hospital a few times due to “a big headache”.

Defence for Anthony Bowe, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said that her client accepted he had let himself and his family down.

Remarking that Barry Bowe was in “very serious danger” before the court, Judge Hunt put the matter back to July 30 and said the case would be disposed of “one way or another” on that date.

Background to the case was given at the October Circuit Court by retired Garda Sgt Luke Kavanagh, led by Mr Will Fennelly. The court heard that there was animosity between the two sets of brothers, concerning incidents around Peadars Inn in Rathdowney, of which Barry Bowe had been the licensee. It was alleged that both Polish men had been barred from the pub in August 2011 due to an altercation in which Anthony Bowe, who had been working the door, claimed he was punched and kicked by David Marszelewski, and the following day was threatened by him saying: “You are a f*cking dead man.”