NewsCrime Desk

Drunken Irishman who kicked Oz politician up the arse for a bet lands court fine

Crime DeskBy Jim Gallagher
Darren Heraty was convicted of  aggravated assault on politician John Elferink
Darren Heraty was convicted of aggravated assault on politician John Elferink
Darren Heraty
Darren Heraty

He shot to fame three years ago for kicking an Australian politician in the rear on live TV for a bet.

Now Darren Heraty has become the butt of Irish justice after appearing in court for doing a runner from a hotel without paying for a steak dinner.

The 27-year-old Co. Mayo man hit the headlines all over the world in 2012 when he was fined almost €1,800 by an Australian court after booting politician John Elferink up the behind as a dare during a press conference.

Ironically, Mr Elferink was giving a speech on tougher laws on alcohol-fuelled violence at a function in Darwin when Heraty approached him.

Mr Elferink, a former policeman who had become the Northern Territory’s attorney general, attempted to carry out a citizen’s arrest, but Heraty got away after a struggle.

He later handed himself into police and was convicted of aggravated assault and escaping lawful custody by Darwin Magistrates Court.

The court heard he was drinking with friends at a nearby bar when he saw the press conference, which took place during the Northern Territory elections, was being held across the road. His friends bet him €160 (Aus $200) that he wouldn’t go over and kick the speaker up the bum.

Heraty, who said he was sorry for the “stupid, drunken prank” and was fined Aus$2,200.

Magistrate Greg Cavanagh said the high number of Irish people coming before the court for drunk misbehaviour was getting beyond a joke.

Heraty, a building worker, was back in trouble in his native Ireland last week.

He appeared before Athlone District Court charged with fleeing from the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, without paying after enjoying a slap-up steak dinner and a pint bottle of Bulmer’s cider.

He was arrested the following day for being drunk in public in Castle Street, Mullingar, and charged with that offence and the theft of the steak.

A guard said that when the two offences were read to him Heraty said “f**k off” to each. The defendant, who has 12 previous convictions, expressed remorse in court, saying: “I was awful drunk. I shouldn’t have done it.”

The judge in the case was another Mayoman, Seamus Hughes (above), who said he knew Heraty’s family very well.

He asked:

“Was it your brother who attracted considerable attention for hitting a politician in Australia?”

Heraty replied: “No, that was me.”

Judge Hughes told the court the defendant’s family home was “the nearest house to the church on top of Croagh Patrick.” 

He said Heraty was from a hard-working family who had suffered from a number of bereavements in recent years.

The judge then spoke about the “international notoriety” which Heraty had attained as a result of the attack on the politician in Australia.

“I’m not sure of the exact facts. Did you hit him?” the judge asked the defendant.

“I gave him a kick in the behind. I was stupid drunk at the time,” replied Heraty.

“You seem to be stupid drunk all the time,” said the judge.

“Did your father and mother save all your newspaper clippings? Did you enjoy reading about yourself?”

Heraty replied: “I don’t even like looking at them.”

Summing up, the judge said: “I’m disappointed to see you before the court today.

“I don’t mind a working man having a ‘good scatter’ of beer at the end of the week, but you can’t be carrying on the way you are at the moment.”

He remanded the defendant on bail to Mullingar District Court on March 27, telling him he must bring €250 to court “by way of fine or compensation” on that date.

The Sunday World went to the address given by Heraty, Three Bridges, Islandeady, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, and discovered his mum knew nothing about his court appearance.

“Oh no, what’s he done now?” said Eileen Heraty.

When we told her she said: “What on earth was he doing in Mullingar? He doesn’t live there. He is working up in Dublin.”

Her son had moved out of the house three weeks ago, but had made no mention of his latest spot of bother.

“He is always getting in trouble, but he does not have a bad bone in his body,” said Eileen.

“He would do anything for you and is a great father to his two kids.

“But I told him last time he was in trouble I would not put up with it.

“He is a bit fond of the drink and will do anything for a laugh. He is the centre of attention when he’s had a few drinks, but he is easily led.

“The thing in Australia happened because someone dared him. But he is good natured and would do anything for you. He would spend his last penny on you. There is no badness.”

“It sounds like he [Judge Hughes] has given him a chance,” she said.

Eileen said her son had spent two years in Australia and had also worked in the U.S.