Monday 14 October 2019

Sinn Fein councillor spared jail for knocking out teeth of ex-wife's partner in drunken assault

Dermot Richardson (53) pleaded guilty to assaulting Tony Greene
Pic Collins Courts
Dermot Richardson (53) pleaded guilty to assaulting Tony Greene Pic Collins Courts
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Sinn Fein councillor who attacked his ex-wife's partner in a drunken rage, resulting in the loss of three of his teeth, has been given a two and a half year suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay his victim €7,500.

Dermot Richardson (53) a councillor for South Dublin County Council from Tymon Hall Grove in Tallaght, had pleaded guilty to assaulting Tony Greene after a christening party for the councillor's granddaughter on March 11 2017.

Garda Kevin Keane from Tallaght garda station told judge Martin Nolan and Dublin Circuit Court that after the christening Richardson had gone to the house in Belgard Green in Tallaght that he used to share with his ex wife Martina.

He said Richardson had consumed a lot of alcohol and had shouted at Mr Greene to "get out of the house".

The court heard Richardson then head-butted Mr Greene and punched him "full force in the face", resulting in his two front teeth being knocked out.

Gardai were alerted at 12.10am and called to the house where they saw Mr Greene with blood all over his face and holding his two front teeth in his hand.

Dermot Richardson was arrested and brought to Tallaght garda station. During the initial investigation Mr Richardson said he had acted in self defence.

Mr Greene had to undergo emergency dental surgery where his two teeth could not be re-implanted into his jaw, and a third tooth had to be removed. He has since had to wear a denture as a result.

In his victim impact statement which was read to the court Mr Greene said he had suffered a loss of earnings, dental costs of €3,740, and the loss of three teeth which left it impossible for him to maintain a simple conversation.

He said there was also an element of division at family events since the assault.

Counsel for Cllr Richardson said his client apologised for his behaviour and said he had come to court with €2,000 and was prepared to pay Mr Greene €3,000 more in light of the fact that the €2,000 did not meet the costs incurred by Mr Greene.

He said Cllr Richardson is a public representative who has done some good in the community.

He added that in 1995 Cllr Richardson had suffered a mental health issue and tried to take his own life but was saved by a garda, for which he was thankful.

He said Cllr Richardson had been persuaded by his brother to try and repair a broken relationship with his estranged son, and had first sent him a text to tell him he loved him before going to the house where Mr Greene intervened.

The court heard Cllr Richardson had been born in Clonskeagh and was educated in Donnybrook, and had worked hard in different jobs before becoming a councillor.

Counsel for Cllr Richardson said he wanted to compensate Mr Greene and move on, and that he hopes Mr Greene and his partner would be happy together and that there would be no animosity between the wider families.

Judge Martin Nolan said the assault was a serious one but he would take into account Cllr Richardson's Gardai guilty plea, his cooperation with Gardai, and the fact that there was no relevant previous record.

His contribution to public life and the fact that he was not likely to reoffend was also taken into consideration.

He sentenced Cllr Richardson to two and a half years suspended, and told him he was to pay Mr Greene €2,000 at once, and another €5,500 within 18 months.

In a statement Richardson, who was re-elected as a councillor for Tallaght South in May, expressed his remorse.

He said: "I want to express abject regret and to apologise sincerely to those affected by my actions.

"I accept the judgement of the court and the sentence handed down to me.

"I have let myself down and I have fallen short of the high standards expected of me by Sinn Fein and those I am privileged to represent."

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