Prison officer was hit after visit refused

By Andrew Phelan

A DUBLIN man who went to see his brother in jail struck and injured a prison officer when he flew into a rage because his visit was cancelled.

Christopher Fagan (30) smashed a hatch and began "flailing his arms", hitting the officer in the waiting room at Mountjoy.

Judge James Faughnan ordered him to carry out 240 hours of community service instead of a six-month prison sentence.

Fagan, a father of two from Sean McDermott Street, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin District Court to assault causing harm to the prison officer on January 25 last year.

The victim told the court he was on duty in the waiting area at 11.20am when the defendant came in to see his brother, Derek.

The 15-minute visit had been scheduled for 11.15am and the officer told the accused he was late and the visit was cancelled.

Fagan demanded to see the governor, and when told he would have to leave he became agitated and slammed the wooden hatch shut, breaking it.

Because there were other visitors including children there, the officer decided to escort the accused out.


Fagan began flailing his arms, hitting him the officer on the nose and knocking off his glasses.

He went to restrain Fagan in a "bear hug" and several other members of staff came to help.

The victim ended up with a bloody nose and swollen lip.

Cross-examined by Emmet Nolan BL, for the defence, the victim denied that the injury could have been inflicted accidentally by one of his colleagues during the struggle.

Derek Fagan's girlfriend, Sonia O'Neill, said they were three to four minutes late for the visit and claimed the victim told her to "go away".

She alleged that the officers were "nearly turning Christopher upside down" and it was "horrible".

She alleged that several officers "jumped on" the accused. She could not see how he could have assaulted the victim.

Fagan did not go into evidence. Judge Faughnan found him guilty, but said the assault was "extremely low on the scale".

The accused had a large number of previous convictions. He had become addicted to drugs in his teens but had now put criminality behind him.

It was "common case" that he had "lost his cool" at being refused the visit on the day, Mr Nolan said.