A BANGOR woman who had gone to Ballyholme Beach after receiving a report of a pre-teen boy being "drunk" has been convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old girl after arriving at the scene.
Franci Michelle Craig (28), of James Mews, had denied a charge of common assault in relation to May 30 this year but was convicted of the offence during a contest at Newtownards Magistrates Court.
The teenage girl gave evidence via a video link from a witness room at the courthouse.
She said she was at the beach for a swim and then was drinking from a can of 'Dragon Soop' alcohol.
The teenager saw the pre-teen boy drinking alcohol and said she confiscated a drink from him because of his young age.
The girl said Craig then arrived by vehicle and asked her if she had bought the boy drink and she replied "No".
The girl said the defendant "started hitting me" and claimed: "She trailed me by the throat. She had her hand on my throat, she trailed me and then started hitting my head off the small wall near the car park.
"Then she ripped the can of Dragon Soop out of my hand and threw it at me. It got split in half and was thrown at me and the drink went over me."
She said the can hit her.
The teenager denied she had thrown the can at Craig and added: "She hit it out of my hand".
The girl added: "She spun off and then I started taking a fit and my friends rang the police".
The girl said she received "two big bumps" on her head and a "few bruises" on her arm and leg.
The teenager said there was a crowd of young people present, including friends of her's "and they all ran over to see if I was ok".
In cross-examination by a defence lawyer, the girl denied throwing the tin at Craig and also denied spitting "in her face".
She added: "I would never spit on anyone, it is disgusting".
The girl also denied that she had been pushed on the shoulders by the defendant and said "she pushed me on the chest," causing her to fall.
The teenager said she had approached Craig when she had taken the young boy and another boy, who had been with the witness, "by the scruff" towards the vehicle.
The defence lawyer said Craig would say she was "interrupted several times" and put it to the girl: "You confronted her, spat on her and threw the alcohol at her".
The girl replied: "No, that is not true".
The defence lawyer continued: "That is when she pushed you in the shoulder area and you fell backwards onto the ground".
The girl said: "She pushed me on the chest".
District Judge Mark Hamill read a statement from a female witness and was also shown photographs.
In the witness box, Franci Craig she attended the beach after being told the pre-teen boy was "drunk".
She said when the boy initially refused to leave the area with her she got him "by the hood" and alleged the teenage girl began "slabbering at me, verbally abusing me".
She said the girl "spat in my face" and had thrown drink at her "so then I pushed her" with one hand and "she fell over".
The defendant said she believed the girl was "drunk".
She denied grabbing the girl and hitting her off a wall.
Craig admitted she had pushed the girl and alleged it was "in self-defence" after she had been spat upon and had drink thrown over her.
She said she had "apologised" for pushing her.
The defendant told the court: "I am very sorry for pushing her".
The prosecution lawyer put it to Craig that she "slapped" the drink can out of the teenage girl's hand and said another witness also said that happened.
The prosecutor said the other witness said Craig said to the teenage girl: "Get the f--k away or I will take your head off".
The defendant denied that but admitted she told the girl to "get the f--k out of my face".
After being shown photos of the girl's injuries she denied causing injury.
Convicting the defendant of assault, the judge said an "independent" witness "with no axe to grind" said Craig had "slapped" the can out of the girl's hand and pushed her on the shoulders.
The defendant was given a two years conditional discharge.
The judge told her he could understand her "ire" about the pre-teen being "drunk on the beach" but added: "You can't behave like this."
- Main picture: The Ballyholme area.