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Bar owner liable for heckler attack

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Dublin, Eire

Irish comedian Paul Malone got an unexpected punchline to his act when an inebriated heckler he directed put-downs at assaulted him after his act at the Park View Bar in Kanturk, County Cork. The attack left Malone with a wound over his left eye which required nine stitches.

The details of the assault were related to Cork Circuit Court when Malone, from Dublin, sought compensation for his injury from the owner of the pub where he had been performing. The publican, he claimed, was legally liable for the actions of the customers. The judge accepted this claim and awarded Malone 3,500 euros in compensation.

The comedian told how a young man in the audience, who appeared to have too much drink taken, kept interrupting his act. Said Malone: “I made a few comments, in an effort to to quieten him. I said: ‘Why don’t you stand over by the wall, that’s plastered as well.’ Then I said: ‘His brain is too tense – two tenths of the normal size.'”

The audience liked the quips and applauded. But the comedian said that when he was getting into his car, after the show, the heckler stepped out of the pub and punched him in the eye. “There was blood everywhere and I had to get nine stitches.”

The court heard that his attacker had already been dealt with at an earlier hearing. But Malone’s compensation claim had been opposed by pub owner Michael Hourigan, who claimed the young man had been put out of the premises long before the assault occurred.

Afterwards, Malone said the incident had taught him to be more careful in dealing with hecklers. It was, he claimed, his second such encounter – at another gig, a member of the audience had threatened to kill him for singing folk song favourite the Fields of Athenry backwards.

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