Dublin Castle security man spared jail for 'explosive' workplace attack

Dublin Castle security man spared jail for 'explosive' workplace attack

A Dublin Castle security man, who lost control and jumped on a colleague before repeatedly hitting him in the face, has been spared a jail sentence and 240 hours’ community service.

Griffith O’Keefe, 46, with an address at St Patrick’s Avenue, North Strand, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm during to Noel Redmond, 62, at Dublin Castle during an “explosive moment” on February 27, 2018.

Father-of-two O’Keefe, who was a security man for 17 years, lost his job as a result of the incident. He was given 12 months' supervised probation after medical issues prevented him from carrying out community service.

In a victim impact statement, Redmond had told Dublin District Court earlier that he had perfect teeth before the assault. He spent €5,400 on medical treatment since and could need more work on his teeth, he said.

He had also told Judge Geraldine Carthy: “What happened, happened. It’s done and over with now, we can just get on with our lives now, it could have happened to anybody.”

The defence had told the court the attack happened during an “explosive moment” when O’Keefe was under stress. He was sorry and had also completed a restorative justice programme with the Probation Service.

The attack was out of character, the defence had said in pleas for leniency.

Judge Carthy said the attack merited a custodial sentence but she noted the guilty plea, that O’Keefe had no prior criminal convictions and the mitigation plea.

In May, she had ordered him to carry out 240 hours’ community service in lieu of an eight-month jail sentence. However, the case was re-entered before Judge Carthy.

Defence counsel Amy Deane said her client had been unable to carry out the community service due to health issues. Medical reports on him were handed in to court.

Counsel pleaded with the judge not to impose the default sentence. The judge imposed a probation bond.

'You’ll not be getting on this f***ing unit'

The court was told earlier that Redmond arrived at work and tried to access the control room with a swipe card but the door had been locked. He could not get in and believed the defendant deliberately kept the door locked.

After three or four minutes O’Keefe took the lock off, the court heard.

Redmond went to his locker to take out some toiletries for the shower and commented to O'Keefe. During an exchange between the pair, Redmond told O’Keefe there would a change in relation to his shift.

Mr Redmond then turned to go down a set of stairs when O’Keefe jumped on him and "straddled" him before hitting him six or seven times to his head and face.

During the attack he shouted: “You’ll not be getting on this f***ing unit” and he then jumped off Redmond before heading to the canteen.

O’Keefe had not come to attention since.

A medical report was furnished which referred to a condition he suffered from and which leads to some outbursts of anger. It had also caused him to lose a permanent pensionable job and has had financial difficulties, the court had heard.

O’Keefe had apologised in writing to Redmond, the court heard. The court also heard he accepted there was no justification for his actions and he had been under some stress prior to the attack but he was addressing the issue.

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