A top marketing executive, who attacked a judge at an awards ceremony at the Mansion House in Dublin, has agreed to pay E20,000 to charity to escape a criminal conviction.
Gary Brown (aged 51) with an address at Howth Road, in Clontarf in Dublin, had denied assault causing harm to John O'Connor on May 7, 2009, at the An Post Direct Marketing Awards Night in the Mansion House.
Brown's company RMG Target had won the top prize at the event for the fourth consecutive year. In his victory speech he had said: “It's great to see new faces coming in” which were “making great videos that make us laugh every year”.
Afterwards, Mr O'Connor and another judge Justin Cullen asked to speak with Brown. They went to a corridor and Mr O'Connor and Mr Cullen criticised the speech but was told by the Brown to “f**k off”.
The court had heard that Mr O'Connor called Brown a "knacker" and he was then punched in the face by the accused. He fell and grabbed on to Brown and they went to the floor.
Witnesses had told the court that Brown punched Mr O'Connor five times leaving him bleeding.
Brown had claimed that Mr O'Connor and Mr Cullen had been aggressive and he was embarrassed because some of his clients were present when they came to his table.
He had claimed Mr O'Connor had said that his conduct when he gave his speech was “loutish”.
Brown admitted telling Mr O'Connor to "f**k off" but said the victim had called him a knacker and he feared he would be struck by him.
However, he was found guilty by Judge Ann Watkin earlier this month and remanded on bail to appear again today at Dublin District Court.
Mr Brendan Grehan SC, defending, told the court that his client had made a €5,000 donation to Temple Street Hospital which had been nominated by Mr O'Connor.
His client wished to “apologise unreservedly” and testimonials detailing work he had done for charity were submitted to the court.
Mr Grehan agreed that his client had gone to a psychologist to “to deal with the fact he might have a anger issue”.
Brown had admitted liability and paid €1,050 following a claim Mr O'Connor made through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. He had also written a cheque for €1,122 to cover witness expenses.
Judge Watkin described the offence as extremely serious but noted that Brown had been a “upstanding member of the community”, had shown remorse and had no previous criminal convictions.
However, in relation to the €5,000 charity donation made by Brown she said that sum would not hurt him as as much it would others.
The judge said the incident was not “totally unprovoked” and she believed Brown had been “approached in a rather aggressive manner” but that was not a justification for the assault.
She also noted that the case had consequences for Brown's standing in the business world.
Judge Watkin held that he would be left without a criminal conviction and given the Probation Offenders Act if he made another donation, in the sum of €20,000, to the St Vincent de Paul charity.
She noted that Brown was agreeable to paying that and adjourned the case until a date next month.