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'Moment of madness' Former Garda clerical worker says he 'over-reacted' when he spat on female security worker

The accused also said to the woman: “If you keep following me, I’m going to crack your head open and enjoy every minute of it.”

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John Medupe’s victim was afraid she may have caught Covid

John Medupe’s victim was afraid she may have caught Covid

John Medupe’s victim was afraid she may have caught Covid

A FORMER garda clerical worker who spat on a shop security woman in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the victim made a racial slur against him and he "over-reacted.”

John Medupe (51) said this was his explanation for his attack on the shop worker, when he threatened he would “crack her head open and enjoy every minute of it.”

She had challenged him for skipping the queue.

Medupe told Dublin District Court he was not blaming the victim and accepted what he did in a “moment of madness” was irrational and “disgusting.”

Judge Bryan Smyth said he would consider sparing him a criminal record if he pays €1,000 compensation and takes part in a restorative justice programme.

Medupe, of Killarney Parade, Phibsboro, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour.

The court heard he went to Marks & Spencer, Jervis Shopping Centre last July 2 and passed a queue. The security woman spoke to him about this, he replied “f**k you.”

He then tried to come in through another section and the victim stopped him and told him he could not enter.

Medupe became verbally abusive to her and spat on her, the court heard. It landed on her chin, shirt and tie and she was “very distressed” and afraid she could catch Covid-19.

The accused also said to the woman: “If you keep following me, I’m going to crack your head open and enjoy every minute of it.”

A victim impact statement was handed in to court. Garda Sergeant Tony Flanagan said Medupe had no prior convictions.

“I felt that there had been a racial slur said to me, I acted irrationally and completely out of character,” Medupe told the court. “I have never been in trouble before, it’s been eight months to the day this week and it’s been haunting me every day. It’s something which… was incredibly irrational, disgusting, it was a moment of madness.”

Medupe had written a letter of apology to the victim and brought €500 to court as “a token of his contrition.”

The court heard the victim was out of pocket for the dry cleaning of her uniform and a day’s work.

Judge Smyth said it was a serious thing to say that somebody made a racial slur and he did not know if the victim was aware this was Medupe’s contention.

Defence solicitor Matthew De Courcy said the accused had been arrested immediately and gave a full explanation in his garda interview, which was on the record from the outset.

Medupe was not in any way trying to blame the victim, but just trying to “contextualise the reaction," which was disproportionate, he said.

The accused moved from South Africa to Ireland for “a better life” in 2013, and undertook further education in computers, business, financial services and customer support. He had started a law degree but could not afford to complete it.

He had worked in several jobs, then as a clerical officer in the public sector since 2019, including the office of the Data Protection Officer.

Medupe had since lost his job, and the case and adverse publicity had had a “catastrophic effect” on his employability. He was on a waiting list for work but was “in limbo” pending the outcome, Mr De Courcy said.

Judge Smyth said the fact that the spit happened during the pandemic was an aggravating factor.

He said he would consider leaving Medupe without a conviction if,as well as the €500, he paid another €1,00 in compensation and took part in a restorative justice programme.

The accused was remanded on continuing bail to appear in court again next month.

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