News Courts

Thursday 18 September 2014

Father who head-butted judge spared jail sentence

Tom Tuite

Published 27/06/2014 | 02:30

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Eoin McGinn
Eoin McGinn
Mr. Justice Anthony Barr
Mr. Justice Anthony Barr
Laszlo Szaszi
Laszlo Szaszi

A DUBLIN man, who headbutted a senior member of the judiciary and punched a security guard at the Four Courts, has received a €500 fine and a seven-month suspended sentence.

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Gardai were called to the court building on the afternoon of Sunday, December 1, last year and arrested 23-year-old Eoin McGinn in connection with an assault on Mr Justice Anthony Barr and security officer Laszlo Szaszi.

Judge Barr was appointed to the High Court in June last year having previously worked for six years as a senior counsel at the Morris tribunal into garda irregularities.

Guilty pleas were entered at Dublin District Court by the sheet metal worker from Liscarne Gardens, in Clondalkin, Dublin.

McGinn admitted unlawfully getting into Anthony Barr's car at Inns Quay.

He was also guilty of attacking the judge contrary to Section 2 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act as well as a more serious charge of assault causing harm to the security officer.

In evidence, Garda Peter Byrne told Judge Cormac Dunne that Mr Justice Barr had been pulling into the Four Court's yard when the accused approached and got into the back of his car.

The High Court judge jumped out of his car to remove the accused who "struck Mr Barr with a headbutt".

Gda Byrne said it made contact, "but it was not sufficient force to cause injury".

The 56-year-old security guard then intervened but he was punched on the bridge of his nose and left bleeding.

Judge Dunne heard that father-of-one McGinn had minor road traffic convictions. Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said his client was extremely drunk after spending the previous night out, and "he thought he was getting into a taxi".

His client has a full-time job and a child to support, the defence lawyer said.

Judge Dunne viewed security footage of the incident and said it showed the High Court judge promptly jumping out of his car and pulling McGinn out from the back seat.

He said the CCTV evidence was consistent with McGinn's erroneous view that Mr Justice Barr's car was a public service vehicle.

Irish Independent

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