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Rihanna's bodyguard spared jail for sending abusive texts to garda

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Rihanna’s former head of security, Geoffrey Keating

Rihanna’s former head of security, Geoffrey Keating

Rihanna’s former head of security, Geoffrey Keating

Rihanna's former head of security has been found guilty of harassing a garda with a string of abusive text messages, calling him a "bitch" and threatening: "I'll slap you around."

Geoffrey Keating (40) sent a series of nine messages to the officer's private phone in the space of 90 minutes, saying: "You and your bully pals… you are not fit to wear that uniform."

He was spared jail when Judge Ann Ryan handed down a suspended six-month sentence at Dublin District Court and ordered him to stay away from the garda sergeant indefinitely.

Bodyguard Keating worked for Rihanna in 2012 and 2013.

The accused, of Woodbank Drive, Valley Park, Finglas, had denied harassing Garda Sergeant Brendan Carey in 2016.

Allegations

While he admitted sending the texts, he claimed they were not directed personally at Sgt Carey but referred to allegations that another named officer had strip-searched two youths.

Keating said Sgt Carey's was the only number he had and he sent the text in the hope his complaint would go "up the chain".

Detective Sergeant Gavin Ross told the court Sgt Carey received messages through the Viber app on August 21, 2016.

Det Sgt Ross went to the accused's home on August 24, took possession of his phone and arrested him.

In interview, when asked if he knew why he had been arrested, Keating said: "I do indeed, yeah. It took yous long enough though." He alleged that a week and a half earlier, two youths had been stopped by gardai and made to strip down to their boxers for a search.

Keating told gardai he texted Sgt Carey because he wanted to get arrested so he could get his case across.

"I'm not going to stop at anything until I get this stopped, and stop gardai abusing young kids," he said.

"The fun will start when I get to court".

After the messages were read back to him, Keating said he had been on a lot of pain medication at the time.

He added that he was a fitness fanatic but was "smoking weed to calm me down… to stop me doing something mad".

He said one of the other gardai was a "corrupt little scumbag". When charged, he replied: "You are all corrupt."

Sgt Carey told the court he gave Keating his phone number two years earlier when the accused had helped gardai change the wheel of a patrol car.

At the time, Keating said he had concerns about antisocial behaviour and crime in the Finglas area and Sgt Carey gave him his personal number.

When he received the texts, Sgt Carey did not initially know who they were from and became concerned.

Excerpts were read out to the court. In the first, the accused said: "I don't know what drugs you and your bully mates in the station are taking."

When he texted, "I'm going to put a stop to the lot of you one by one", Sgt Carey said he interpreted that as a threat.

"Nothing to say, bitch??" the next text read, to which Sgt Carey replied three minutes later: "Who is this??"

The next message referenced two other gardai, and Sgt Carey replied: "Well done, you are a hero." Sgt Carey said this was a "flippant remark made to an unidentified sender".

After this, the accused identified himself and texted: "You and your bully pals, I'll slap you around. You are nothing but a piece of c**p, you are not fit to wear that uniform."

Keating next asked Sgt Carey about his "hero" comment and said: "Watch your little mouth.

"Now f**k off and try to do your job within the law because there's more than me watching, fool," the final message read.

Tactics

"Mark my words, you will be brought to book for your actions. There's more than one way to skin a cat. It's all tactics now, bitch."

Sgt Carey said he was extremely concerned but was off work and reported the incident to his superiors two days later.

Keating said the texts were not directed at Sgt Carey but "the gardai as a whole".

In cross-examination, he said he had just wanted to make someone aware of his frustrations. He became antagonised by the "hero" comment because that was the nickname gardai in Finglas had for him, he said.

He said all he was asking was for the gardai to "do their job within the law and leave children alone".

The court heard Keating had nine previous convictions for offences including unauthorised taking of a vehicle and deception.


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