'Chinese whispers' about a spiked drink led to one girl punching another

CHINESE whispers" about a drink being spiked was the cause of one girl punching another in Kilfinane, Kilmallock Court heard.

CHINESE whispers" about a drink being spiked was the cause of one girl punching another in Kilfinane, Kilmallock Court heard.

Christina Buckley, 21, of Lissard, Ballywire, Kilross, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and assaulting Michelle O'Connor from Kilfinane.

Garda Niall McInerney said that last February 1 at 2.10am Ms Buckley was being accompanied by a friend on Lower Main Street, Kilfinane.

Garda McInerney said that Ms O'Connor left a pub and Ms Buckley said to her: "I didn't spike the drink".

"Ms Buckley then punched her in the right eye," said Garda McInerney, who said that he saw Ms O'Connor's eye a couple of days later and it was black and blue.

"Ten minutes later, Ms Buckley and four friends went to Ms O'Connor's mother's home in Mountain View, Kilfinane.

"Ms Buckley started shouting abuse and trying to gain entry. She had no success in gaining access. Garden furniture was used to bang on the door,and this left a scuff mark. An electric fountain ornament was broken into three pieces. Rubbish bins were thrown all over the estate before they left the area," said Garda McInerney.

Ms Buckley's solicitor, Brendan Gill, asked Garda McInerney if his client had apologised.

Garda McInerney said she had apologised to him and given him a handwritten apology for the O'Connor family, which he passed on.

The price of the broken fountain was €300. Garda McInerney said Ms Buckley had given him €150 to hand over to the injured party towards the cost.

Mr Gill said there was a history between the two parties, which Garda McInerney agreed with.

"They were really good friends until a year ago. The injured party's drink was spiked. No complaints were made to the Gardai, but there were Chinese whispers that Ms Buckley was responsible," said Garda McInerney, who added that he would be surprised if Ms Buckley came to the attention of the Gardai again.

Mr Gill asked Garda McInerney if Ms Buckley had disassociated herself from a peer group.

"I've known her for four years and there was a clientele bringing her down. She has disassociated herself from them," said Garda McInerney.

Mr Gill said Ms Buckley was 21 years of age and was friendly with the injured party and her mother before the falling out.

"The night in question was the first night they had actually met since then. She had far too much drink. They were celebrating after the local club won an All-Ireland Junior Hurling championship. She went out far too early and words were exchanged," said Mr Gill.

After the incident, they went their separate ways, said Mr Gill.

"Ms Buckley received a phone call from the injured party's mother, which poured petrol on the fire. She went to the housing estate to argue her case and one thing led to another. Her actions were unacceptable and she apologises," said Mr Gill, who added that she had paid €150 towards the fountain and will pay the rest.

"She was a hairdresser, but was let go. She has started a FETAC childcare course. Garda McInerney was very fair in his evidence and Ms Buckley is extremely embarrassed to be before the court," said Mr Gill.

Judge Mary O'Halloran ordered a full social enquiry report on Ms Buckley and a victim impact payment statement from Ms O'Connor. She adjourned the case to February 3. She ordered that the full damages be discharged.

Garda McInerney said Ms O'Connor worked as a hairdresser. "She couldn't work due to her black eye and was financially at a loss of €700," he said.

Judge O'Halloran told Ms Buckley to "steer clear of trouble or it will only land her in one place".