Barn dance catfight ends in assault conviction

Two Co. Down women ended up in court after a barn dance catfight resulted in one woman receiving facial injuries.

A 25-year-old Ballyhalbert woman has been convicted of assault for her part in a fight at a young farmers’ barn dance this week in Newtownards Magistrates Court.

The woman was listed to contest the charge that she unlawfully assaulted a 19-year-old on May 22 last year.

She pleaded guilty at the last opportunity, with her victim and other witnesses already in court ready to give testimony.

Shouted abuse

The court heard both parties were at a young farmers’ club barn dance in the Newtownards area, when the 25-year-old approached the younger woman and started shouting abuse at her.

She then pushed the younger woman to the face, causing bleeding to the nose and a cut lip. The court viewed photos of the injuries.

The 25-year-old told police she accepted there was a confrontation, but said she pushed the 19-year-old away from her, and did not assault her.

‘Not an isolated situation’

The counsel for the defence told the court: “This is a very small town. Their families are known to each other, and there has been no contact since.”

The lawyer admitted that it “was not an isolated situation”, and said that the defendant had been in court before for similar behaviour against her former friend – who was also the 19-year-old woman’s sister.

The lawyer concluded: “There has been a complete cessation of violence and involvement.”

Deputy district judge Philip Mateer said: “The genesis of this has not been revealed. This happened at a public event where people should have been allowed to enjoy themselves and not experience violence.”

He noted that the defendant had been bound to keep the peace for a year on her last assault, and added: “She had a history for this and appears not to have learned anything.”

Restraining order

He ordered a restraining order in favour of the complainant for the 25-year-old not to intimidate, pester or harass her for 12 months.

The deputy judge also fined her £200, imposed an offender’s levy of £15, and ordered her to pay £200 compensation to the 19-year-old.

He said: “I am not evaluating the injury, but it is some gesture for the insult towards her.”

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