Cork man fined for headbutting work colleague who mocked him for keeping pet cats

Robert McGrath's solicitor said his client "should have complained he was being humiliated by a fellow employee".
Cork man fined for headbutting work colleague who mocked him for keeping pet cats

The defendant, Robert McGrath, pleaded guilty but alleged that he was provoked.

A man who keeps cats at home was mocked with lewd comments about this in his workplace canteen and at the height of an incident with a work colleague he lashed out by headbutting the other man.

45-year-old Robert McGrath, of Monatoureen, Knockraha, County Cork, pleaded guilty today to a charge of assault causing harm to Duncan Ogundu at the staff canteen at Meenane pallet centre, Watergrasshill, County Cork.

Judge Olann Kelleher imposed a €750 fine on Robert McGrath who had no convictions of any kind before or since this assault which occurred at lunchtime on August 1, 2019.

The fine is not the only cost on the defendant for his actions on that day. He brought €500 to Cork District Court for the injured party, Mr Ogundu. Defence solicitor, Joseph Cuddigan, said his client Robert McGrath had also lost his job as a result of the assault and the injured party had initiated civil proceedings against him.

Judge Olann Kelleher said: “I take all that into account as background information. He said he was being humiliated by a fellow employee and momentarily lost his temper and made a terrible error of judgement.

He has pleaded guilty to assault causing harm. He lost his job and it was a job he liked. It was a social outlet as well as a job.

“But it is a serious assault and he cannot take the law into his own hands.” The judge imposed the €750 fine on him.

Sgt Davis said the defendant sat down next to the injured party in the work canteen that day and the injured party moved. Another unidentified person then moved the injured party’s lunch back next to the defendant when the injured party was momentarily absent.

The injured party challenged him about this and the defendant, Robert McGrath, headbutted him.

Mr Cuddigan said that while Robert McGrath was pleading guilty, the allegation of provocation was being put forward by way of mitigation.

Mr Cuddigan said that the defendant cycled to work and that some others in the workplace commented about hygiene. As well as this the defendant had pet cats and the injured party in this case allegedly made lewd comments about the pets, Mr Cuddigan said. 

At another stage the injured party allegedly said the defendant should wash himself in a puddle in a pothole in the yard.

“He should have complained he was being humiliated by a fellow employee,” Mr Cuddigan said, adding that he should not have taken matters into his own hands in the way that he did.

Mr Cuddigan said the defendant used to enjoy chatting about GAA and so forth to workmates and the solicitor described him as a decent hardworking man and added that fortunately, he had found another job.

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