independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Man convicted of assaulting boy (11)

CULPRIT SAYS HE WAS RACIALLY ABUSED

A MAN convicted at Wexford District Court of assaulting an 11-year old boy who knocked on his door, claimed that he suffered continuous racial harassment by children in Piercestown over the past five years.

Israel Kkhumola, Church House, Pollsallagh, Piercestown pleaded not guilty to assaulting the boy on January 15 last year. He said he only pulled him by his hood after he chased a group of children who had been knocking on his door.

However, after hearing evidence, Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla convicted the defendant, fined him €400 and ordered him to enter a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years.

The boy who was accompanied in court by his father, said he and a group of friends were walking home. One of the friends knocked on Israel Khumula's door. He thought there was no-one in so he knocked as well.

Afterwards, a car pulled in behind them. He thought it was someone looking for directions and continued walking. The defendant got out and chased him. He caught up with him and punched him in the jaw, he said.

The young witness said the defendant then told him that if he did it again, he would kill him, before pushing him down on the road. He went home and told his mother what had happened.

One other boy and two girls also gave evidence, saying they knocked on the defendant's door and then ran off. One of the girls said everyone started when the defendant came after them and caught her friend by the hood.

Garda Coakley, who investigated the incident, said he noticed a bruise on the boy's right knee. He went to the defendant's house and outlined the complaint that he had punched the boy in the face and thrown him to the ground. Kkhumola declined to make a statement.

Defending himself in court, the accused said two boys and three girls banged on his window. He opened the window and told them to go away. After they ran off, he got into his car to follow them and find out where they lived so he could tell their parents.

He said this kind of activity had been going on for five years. The children came and knocked on his door. When it started happening first, they rang the bell repeatedly. When he opened the door, they would run. He disabled the buzzer but they knocked on the door or banged on the window. He would open the window to tell them to go away. Every time he told the children to stop, they kept doing it.

On the night in question, they knocked on the door. He opened the window and told them to go away. The boy at the centre of the alleged assault came back, banged on the window and then ran.

' This has to stop. They have been hassling me. This is racial harassment,' he said, adding that he decided to go and see their parents to tell them to stop the activity.

He drove slowly behind them . As he came close to them, he opened the window and said 'you stop knocking on my window'. The boy in question replied 'f *** off '.

He jumped out of the car. He followed him as he ran off, thinking he would find out where he lived but he changed direction suddenly and he grabbed him by the hood. He told him that if he didn't stop, he was going to report him to his school.

He left it at that. He did not hit him and he did not push him onto the ground. 'I did not hit no kid. I did not push a kid to the floor. I am a parent myself. I have two kids,' he told Judge O Buachalla.

He questioned the motives of the gardai in bringing the prosecution, claiming they were racist. He said the last time they brought him to court it was for something he didn't do and they were still trying to make cases.

The defendant said the case had caused stress in his family.

Asked by Inspector Pat McDonald why he hadn't complained to the gardai about the harassment, he said he didn't think that anything would be done about it.

Garda Coakley said that if the defendant had made a complaint, the gardai would have been duty bound to investigate it.

Judge O Buachalla asked him if he regretted his action. The defendant replied that the only thing he regretted was where he was living. 'I wish I never came to this country in the first place.'

The Judge asked him where he was from, and he said he came from England.

Judge O Buachalla found the facts proven and asked the defendant about his circumstances. He replied that he wasn't working at the moment but had a job to go to in England.

The court heard that he had no previous convictions.

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