ROWLEY — A Market Basket deli department employee charged with seriously injuring a co-worker behind the counter in September was back in Newburyport District Court on Wednesday, asking a judge to allow his attorney to see records related to the incident.
Graham Smith, 62, of Winsor Lane, Topsfield, was arraigned on an assault and battery charge March 18 and released on personal recognizance. His arraignment on the felony offense came after a clerk magistrate ruled on Jan. 27 that there was enough probable cause to charge him, according to court records.
A day after the alleged assault Sept. 10, the victim went to the Rowley Police Department and told Officer John Raffi that Smith tripped him as he walked past, causing him to land face first against a deli slicing machine.
While the man avoided the blades, he suffered a broken nose, broken cheek bone, a swollen left eye, cuts to his face and a swollen right hand, according to Raffi’s report.
Raffi wrote that he spoke to another Market Basket employee who said he saw Smith stretch out his leg to trip the victim. The employee reported what he saw to a Market Basket manager, who began an internal investigation.
In a report included in Smith’s court file, the Market Basket manager wrote that Smith would “no longer be working there.”
The internal report also states that the witness saw Smith and the victim arguing earlier in the shift.
“When (the victim) came back from break (the witness) saw (the victim) walking to the back room. This is where he saw Graham trip (the victim) on purpose. He confirmed this information with the Rowley police,” the report read.
When Raffi spoke to Smith about the incident, Smith said the victim had threatened him with a knife months earlier and had also threatened to harm his family. Smith said the victim had been on his case for “taking several breaks during the time they were both assigned to the deli counter.”
Smith also told the officer that the trip was accidental, according to Raffi’s report.
But during Smith’s court appearance, via videoconference, his attorney told Judge Allen Swan that he acted in self-defense. Smith’s attorney referred to the alleged knife-wielding encounter in her motion to obtain the victim’s medical records and employment records to bolster Smith’s claim of self-defense.
Swan granted the motions and gave Essex County prosecutors until May 3 to provide the documents. Smith’s next appearance in court is May 12.
A phone call to Market Basket’s corporate office seeking comment was not returned before The Daily News’ deadline.
Dave Rogers is a staff writer with The Daily News. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.