A former HSE official has been fined for assaulting a TV3 cameraman outside a courthouse and given a suspended jail term for daubing offensive graffiti on cemetery headstones at a Republican plot in Cork.
Judge Olann Kelleher imposed a six-month suspended sentence on David Cooper for causing criminal damage to the headstones in March 2013.
The judge said although he was only dealing with the offence of causing criminal damage, he had to be conscious of the worry caused to other people by the nature of the graffiti, which was “designed to put them in fear”.
Inspector John Deasy said the man whose name appeared with the graffiti on the headstones at St Finbarr’s cemetery had absolutely nothing to do with the matter.
This person was a HSE manager who suggested to investigating gardaí that Cooper, who was previously employed by the HSE, might have been involved in it.
Cooper, aged 52, who lives at an apartment at 7 Southern Rd, Cork, pleaded guilty to causing the criminal damage shortly before the Easter commemorations three years ago. The case was significantly delayed for clarification in the Supreme Court on the issue of ownership of national monuments.
While Cooper pleaded guilty to causing the criminal damage at St Finbarr’s cemetery, he was before Cork District Court yesterday accused of assaulting a TV3 cameraman, a charge which he had denied.
The cameraman, Rory Fuller, was filming Cooper walking out of Cork District Court for a story being reported on by TV3’s Paul Byrne on February 5, 2013.
Judge Kelleher said he did not believe Cooper was under half the strain he claimed and that he appeared on the footage to be running along in a very unusual manner. He found him guilty of assaulting Mr Fuller and fined him €500.
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