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Sunday 8 December 2019

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

Dermot Richardson was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay his victim €7,500
Dermot Richardson was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay his victim €7,500

A Sinn Fein councillor who attacked his ex-wife's partner in a drunken rage, knocking out two 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, 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 at Dublin Circuit Court yesterday 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, who had consumed a lot of alcohol, shouted at Mr Greene to "get out of the house".

Headbutted

There was then a dispute between Richardson and his ex-wife.

Richardson headbutted and punched Mr Greene on a number of occasions.

As Mr Greene was comforting his partner, Richardson punched him full force in the face, knocking out two of his front teeth.

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.

Richardson was arrested and brought to Tallaght Garda Station.

During the initial investigation he claimed that he had acted in self-defence.

Mr Greene had to undergo emergency dental surgery, but his two teeth could not be reimplanted 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 hold a simple conversation.

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

Counsel for Richardson said his client apologised for his behaviour and 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 Richardson was a public representative who had done some good in the community.

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

He said Richardson had been persuaded by his brother to try to 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 that Richardson was born in Clonskeagh and educated in Donnybrook, and had worked hard in different jobs before becoming a councillor.

Animosity

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

He sentenced Richardson to two-and-a-half years suspended and told him that 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.

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

"I accept the judgment 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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