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Man accused of putting sewage water in colleague’s coffee collapses outside court

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A man accused of poisoning a co-worker with waste sewage water to get more overtime collapsed and had to be taken to hospital outside a court-house just before he had been due to appear.

Water treatment plant worker Joseph Byrne (64) is facing a number of charges over allegations he deliberately poisoned his colleague who suffered extreme intestinal issues as a result.

A brief outline of the case against Mr Byrne, who has not made any plea, heard how it is alleged in May 2021 another worker was poisoned.

The wastewater had been put into the man’s coffee cup over a period of weeks at the Ardrew Waste Water Treatment Plant in Co Kildare, according to a garda witness.

It is alleged the poisoning happened after a third person had been assigned to the job which effectively cut the accused man’s overtime by a third.

Mr Byrne is also charged with putting ferric acid into the alleged injured party’s lawn mower.

A Book of Evidence was due to be served on him at Athy District Court before his collapse outside after a consultation with his solicitor.

His lawyer Frank Taaffe told the court that his client had been quite happy with the consultation but collapsed on the street just five minutes later adding there was “concern at this stage” as to his health.

Judge Desmond Zaidan said Mr Byrne’s solicitor would have to sign the bond and forwarded the case to the Circuit Court in his client’s absence.

Mr Byrne from Castleroe, Maganey is charged with breaches of Section 12 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act .

It is alleged he did “intentionally or recklessly administered to, or caused to be taken by a named man a substance that you knew with knowledge that would interfere substantially with his bodily functions”, to wit, administer as a poison.

At a previous hearing a garda witness told the court: “The victim was just going about his normal day, using the canteen with his coffee cup sitting in there, and Mr Byrne came in and allegedly put it in his cup and screwed the lid back on.”

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In reply to a question as to the alleged motive the officer replied: “Judge, we believe it was in relation to overtime, which was now to be divided out between two instead of three.”

“There were some serious intestinal issues resulting, and parasites discovered in his coffee cup that shouldn’t be there.”

It was also heard the accused man is out from work as a result of stress.

There was no objection to continued bail, subject to a number of conditions, including he sign on once a week at Athy Garda Station, surrender his passport, and have no contact whatsoever with the injured party.



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