15 Aug 2022

Man who refused to wear gloves spat into Tipperary shop owner' s face

Man who refused to wear gloves spat into Tipperary shop owner' s face

Nenagh Court: Judge Elizabeth MacGrath found a man guilty of spitting in a shop owner's face

A man who refused to wear gloves going into a shop spat in the face of the store owner, Nenagh Court heard.

Andrzej Ostapkiewicz of Apt 1 Abbey Street, Nenagh, pleaded not guilty to assault and threatening and abusive behaviour at Abbey Street, Nenagh, on April 2, 2020.

Store owner Andrjez Joworski told the court that on the date in question Mr Ostapkiewicz came to his shop and asked if he had to put on the gloves as he was only coming in to make a quick purchase.

However, he was told he had to wear gloves and refused to do so.

He said the shop assistant asked the defendant initially to put on the gloves, and he supported her request.

He said the defendant left but came back shortly afterwards and threatened him.

He said he told him to come outside where there were no cameras.

Mr Ostapkiewicz came behind the counter and spat in his face.

Mr Jorowski said he washed his face immediately after the incident and didn’t feel great about it as he had to isolate at home for three days due to the risk from Covid-19.

Cross-examined by solicitor Liz McKeever, for Mr Ostapiewicz, Mr Jorowski siad that he had precautions in place at the shop door such as gel, gloves and face masks for customers.

He was wearing one glove and no mask at the time of the incident because he was eating his lunch at the time.

Ms McKeever said that CCTV coverage of the incident was poor as their heads were not in the shot.

However, Mr Jorowski said that even if their heads were in camera, it would be difficult to see Mr Ostapkiewicz spitting at him.

Garda Aisling Dunne told the court that she interviewed the defendant and he denied the allegation.

In his statement to her he said: “I swear I did not spit in his face. I am human like you. I don’t do that.”

Mr Ostapkiewicz told the court that he had pointed his finger at Mr Jorowski when he returned to the shop but it was just to point out that the injured party was not wearing gloves and a mask.

He said that he didn’t think some spit may have left his mouth accidentally while he was talking to the owner.

Judge Elizabeth MacGrath convicted Mr Ostapkiewicz of assault but dismissed the charge of threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.

She said that while the CCTV camera didn’t capture all the events because their heads were out of shot, the accused could be seen coming in pointing his finger and his demeanour looked aggressive.

She said that you could see the injured party going straight to the wash basin and was clearly washing his face vigorously. This was in line with what the injured party had told the court.

Judge MacGrath adjourned the case to October 28 to see if Mr Ostapkiewicz was suitable for community service.

She said she had 100 hours in mind in lieu of three months in prison.

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