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punchy pensioner OAP bouncer (68) who ‘brutally assaulted’ pub goer gets time to come up with compensation

Judge McKiernan said, for whatever reason, this CCTV ‘disappeared’ when gardaí went looking for it

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Liam O'Keefe

Liam O'Keefe

Liam O'Keefe

A 68-year-old bouncer has been given an opportunity to come up with more compensation for a man he ‘brutally assaulted’ at Fusion nightclub more than two years ago.

Liam O’Keeffe, Ashfield Grove, Drogheda, turned up in court for a review of the case with €500 for Nathan Lennon who last November testified that he had been ‘repeatedly punched in the face’ by the defendant at Fusion in George’s Street, Drogheda, on 28 October 2019 after he returned to the venue to try to retrieve headphones he left behind.

O’Keeffe, who did not attend the original hearing, was convicted in his absence of a charge of assault causing harm.

A bench warrant issued for sentence.

Solicitor Dermot Monahan on Monday said his client was present with his daughter. He was hard of hearing from his time in the Irish Army.

The defendant had no previous convictions. He was married 31 years and had four children.

After leaving school at 14 he had worked ever since, including twelve-and-a-half years in the army and 51 in security.

He accepted full responsibility and over the weekend had written a letter of apology to his victim.

On this night there were ‘a number of events’.

He couldn’t accept what happened and couldn’t believe it until shown the CCTV, Mr Monahan submitted.

Judge McKiernan said, for whatever reason, this CCTV ‘disappeared’ when gardaí went looking for it.

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Luckily, a third party had recorded the incident on his phone.

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Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in Co Louth

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in Co Louth

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in Co Louth

Mr Monahan said the nightclub had changed ownership.

The judge continued she had a note of what happened. The gardaí asked for the CCTV. It was a matter for gardaí that it had not been handed over.

Judge McKiernan continued that Liam O’Keeffe had denied the offence and didn’t turn up for court.

The solicitor said his client agreed he was wrong not to be in court.

References on behalf of the defendant, from St Vincent de Paul, the Louth County Fire Officer, a ‘former Mayor of Drogheda’, two work colleagues not involved in the incident and the gym where he regularly trained, were submitted.

There was also a letter relating to O’Keefe’s hearing.

Mr Monahan said the pensioner was not afraid to put himself at risk to help others. He was hard-working and did charity work.

He had let himself down and accepted his wrong-doing. It was not in his nature to be overtly violent. He didn’t go out looking for this to happen.

He was ‘propelled into it’.

O’Keefe had €500 to offer in compensation. He did not have a lot of resources.

The solicitor asked the court to give his client a chance and not to tarnish his good name.

Judge McKiernan remarked she didn’t accept a medical cert as a reason why he couldn’t attend.

‘It was very clear to me the victim was brutally assaulted. Nothing justifies it.’

The judge added security staff were certainly not hired to assault someone. Their job was to deal with difficult situations. It was terrible any young person was treated in such a fashion.

She felt he was ‘brutally assaulted’ and thankfully it was not more serious.

Judge McKiernan put the case back to 14 March next to canvass the views of the injured party and for him to receive the letter.

She said she was considering a custodial sentence.

Asked by Mr Monahan about the level of compensation, the judge said €2,000 as a token. It was a matter for his client.

Legal aid was granted.

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