A nightclub bouncer has been jailed for repeatedly assaulting a drunken customer during a fracas in which another doorman was glassed.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Galin Genov (54) continued to be employed as security up to last March despite another conviction in 2018 for an assault in September 2015.
Two months after that assault Genov punched Sean McEvoy when he thought the victim had pushed another member of the nightclub security after a third doorman had been “glassed”.
The doormen were escorting Mr McEvoy and others from the premises at the end of the night when another man, not Mr McEvoy, smashed a glass to the back of one man's head.
During the chaos that followed doormen were focused on the assailant and Mr McEvoy stood back out of the way, the court heard. As the second doorman came to help out his colleagues he lost his footing and fell into the back of the defendant.
Cathal O'Braonain BL, defending, told the court that his client then turned around and saw Mr McEvoy with his hands outstretched and concluded that he had pushed his colleague to the ground,
“He reacted by punching Mr McEvoy and made a significant error of judgement,” counsel said.
The victim sustained a chipped tooth, soft tissue damage to the face and cuts over his eye. He received €30,000 in a civil claim against the nightclub, the court heard.
Genov with an address at the Russell Court Hotel, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Dicey Reillys bar, Harcourt Street, on November 29, 2015.
The court heard that he has not come to any garda attention since this incident. In 2018 he was convicted in Dublin District Court for an assault committed in September 2015 and also “in the course of his duties”, the court heard.
Judge Elma Sheahan said she acknowledged the difficult job doormen had in dealing with inebriated people late at night.
She said she accepted that defence submissions that the injured party was “mouthing off” at Genov a little before the assault are consistent with the CCTV played in court.
“However it is the role of the defendant and his training to deal with such situations in a non-aggressive manner and to de-escalate situations such as these,” she said.
She noted Genov had succeeding in getting Mr McEvoy to the exit of the premises “without reacting to the verbal aggro”. She said when a third party attacked another bouncer, Genov believed the victim had contributed to this and punched the victim three times to the head and face.
She noted Genov is a tall strong individual and the assault had some ferocity.
She said that at the time of this assault the defendant had been involved in a separate assault during the course of his work and this was an aggravating factor.
While he had not being convicted of that assault he was “on notice of his behaviour and a need to deal with it in advance of” the latter assault.
Mr O'Braonain told the court that Genov continued to work in security with the same employer up until the Covid-19 lockdown began last March.
Judge Sheahan said his plea of guilty, his record of contributing to society with a good work history and testimonials from his employer were mitigating factors to be taken into consideration.
She suspended the final eight months of a prison term of 20 months on condition he be of good behaviour for the full term.
Counsel submitted to the court that his client was placed in a very difficult position on the night and had just witnessed his colleague get glassed from behind from a member of the group Mr McEvoy was in.
Garda Niall Cunningham agreed with counsel that his client's job is a difficult one which can involve having to make decisions in heated situations.
Mr O'Braonain said that over the course of a decade in the job his client had experienced a similar incident every two months and more minor incidents on a weekly basis.
Judge Sheahan said that it was an aggravating factor that the assault was carried out in the course of Genov's work, which was to ensure safety of people attending.
She noted that this was a repeated assault and wasn’t just one punch in response to what Genov perceived to be circumstances at the time
“He is trained to show restraint,” she said, noting the “gross disparity” between his sober position and the position of the victim who was under the influence of alcohol at the time.