Neighbour jailed for violent attacks on restaurant staff over noise

ireland
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Sonya McLean

A man who carried out violent attacks on the staff of a fast-food restaurant under his flat in a dispute over late night opening hours and noise has been jailed for three years.

Judge Karen O'Connor said the fact that Gerard Griffin (63) carried out the first attacks on the business 10 days after the death of his son in 2017 was a “powerful” aspect of his mitigation.

Griffin had an ongoing dispute with Bilal Ahmed from the Chicken Hut on Clanbrassil Street in Dublin because of the levels of noise, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard. When the business applied to extend opening hours to 1.30am, Griffin also made complaints to Dublin City Council.

In April 2017, he went into the restaurant punched Mr Ahmed, threatened staff and smashed up the shop with a hockey stick. After his arrest he made “disgusting racist and abusive” remarks, Judge O'Connor said.

Last February, he again attacked Mr Ahmed, stabbing him in the hand after he had closed up the restaurant for the night.

Siege

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When gardaí arrived, Griffin ran back into his apartment and refused to come out, telling gardaí: “This is a siege.”

He claimed he had “booby traps” in his apartment and threatened to pour boiling water over anyone who came in. He shouted that he would kill or stab any garda who tried to gain access to his home.

Griffin later came out and threatened to kill himself while holding a kitchen knife to his throat. The garda armed support unit ultimately took him from his apartment and an ambulance was called for him for a superficial wound he caused to his throat with a Stanley blade.

Griffin, of Old Mill Court, Clanbrassil Street, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr Ahmed, criminal damage to the Chicken Hut and making threats to kill or cause serious harm on April 29th, 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, production of a knife, and threats to kill or cause serious harm again on Clanbrassil Street on February 1st, 2020. His 30 previous convictions include assault, public order offences, possession of firearms, larceny and car theft.

Depression

Dean Kelly SC, defending, told the court that his client began to experience depression following the death of one of his daughters and has been stabilised on anti-depressants. He said when not taking his medication, Griffin experiences hallucinatory and auditory delusions and speaks to his deceased children.

The court heard that Mr Ahmed continues to work as a chef and still suffers from stiffness and pain in his right arm and finds it difficult to carry heavy objects.

Passing sentencing on Friday, Judge Karen O'Connor said that Griffin has had a very tragic background with four children dying in heartbreaking circumstances.

She suspended the final three years of an operative six year prison term on condition that he stay away from the flat on Clanbrassil Street. She also ordered that he engage with the Probation Service to explore bereavement issues and issues around racism in society.

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