herald

Monday 24 July 2017

Inmate spat at and punched prison officer in cell row

Keith Hughes had to be restrained by four prison guards
Keith Hughes had to be restrained by four prison guards

A Mountjoy inmate punched a prison officer in the face and spat on him when he put up a violent struggle in his cell.

Keith Hughes (26) was being restrained for the spitting incident when he punched the guard.

Another officer was also sprayed in the face by the spittle.

Hughes assaulted the two officers after "something went off in him", Dublin District Court heard.

Hughes denied three counts of assault, but Judge Timothy Lucey found him guilty and gave him concurrent sentences totalling four months.

He was already serving a six-year sentence for robbery.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened last July 19.

The first officer said he was on duty when Hughes was all-owed out of a close observation cell to have a cigarette.

When he was finished, the officer said: "All right, Keith, time to go back in."

The accused asked him to "tell the class officer that I want to see my solicitor at four o'clock", the court heard.

The officer said he would pass his request on.

Aggressive

"Almost like something went off in him, he said, 'You won't ask him, you'll tell him'," the officer said.

He repeated that he would pass the request on and at that point, Hughes became extremely aggressive, hurling abuse.

It was "the usual stuff - baldy git, all this type of stuff", he said.

There was "no reasoning" with Hughes, so he called three other officers for assistance and told the accused to go back into his cell, the court heard. He did so and the officers stood outside the open door.

Hughes did "a full inhale, as much as he could", and spat.

It hit the side of the officer's cheek and jaw and the four officers entered the cell.

Hughes came forward throwing punches and they used their "control techniques".

There were "arms and legs flying everywhere", the officer said.

As he was trying to grab Hughes' right arm, it came up and caught him on the side of the face.

The other officer said he was sprayed on the left side of his face when the first was spat on.

Four guards had "jumped on top of" the accused and pinned him to the bed and he reacted in self-defence, his solicitor said.

Hughes, who denied spitting, did not go into evidence.

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