Drinking Crap, is Right, one Soft Sentence.

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Man (64) who poisoned colleague’s coffee with sewage water is jailed

Byrne was also charged with putting ferric acid into the injured party’s lawn mower.

Accused Joseph Byrne receives medical attention at Athy District Court
Accused Joseph Byrne receives medical attention at Athy District Court — © Sunday World

Yesterday at 06:54

A man accused of poisoning a co-worker’s coffee with sewage water to get more overtime has been jailed for eight months.

Water treatment plant worker Joseph Byrne (64) was sentenced this week at Naas Circuit Court after admitting to a number of offences.

He pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and to criminal damage while other charges including that of poisoning was taken into account but no conviction recorded.

It had been previously heard in court the wastewater had been put into the man’s coffee cup over a period of weeks in May 2021 at the Ardrew Waste Water Treatment Plant in Co Kildare.

It was alleged the poisoning happened after a third person had been assigned to carry out the work at the plant which effectively cut the accused man’s overtime by a third.

Byrne was also charged with putting ferric acid into the injured party’s lawn mower.

A garda witness told a court hearing: “The victim was just going about his normal day, using the canteen with his coffee cup sitting in there, and Mr Byrne came in and allegedly put it in his cup and screwed the lid back on.”

In reply to a question as to the alleged motive the officer replied: “Judge, we believe it was in relation to overtime, which was now to be divided out between two instead of three.”

“There were some serious intestinal issues resulting, and parasites discovered in his coffee cup that shouldn’t be there.”

It was also heard the accused man is out from work as a result of stress while the victim suffered extreme intestinal issues as a result.

At one previous court hearing Byrne collapsed and had to be taken to hospital from outside Athy courthouse just before he had been due to appear.

Several people looked on as paramedics worked on him as they got him into a stretcher chair before taking him away.

His lawyer Frank Taaffe later said at that hearing his client had been quite happy with the consultation but collapsed on the street just five minutes later, adding there was “concern at this stage” as to his health.

Despite his collapse, a Book of Evidence was served on him at Athy District Court and forwarded to the Circuit Court at Naas which dealt with the case this week.

Mr Byrne from Castleroe, Maganey had been charged with breaches of Section 12 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

It included the charge he “did intentionally or recklessly administered to, or caused to be taken by a named man a substance that you knew with knowledge that would interfere substantially with his bodily functions”, to wit, administer as a poison.

Judge Dara Hayes imposed a 20-month sentence but taking various mitigations into account he suspended the final 12 months.

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