Employee head-butted his boss

Published: 4 Jun 2014 11:30

A 43-year-old employee who head-butted his boss in the face during a dispute about his work has been given 150 hours community service.

Thomas Keaney, of Feddans Road, Enniskillen, appeared at Fermanagh Court and admitted assaulting Frankie Rooney, occasioning him actual bodily harm.

He was ordered to pay Mr. Rooney £300 compensation.

A prosecutor told the court that on Thursday, November 21, last year,

Mr. Rooney contacted the police to say he had been assaulted by one of

his employees. He said that following a discussion with Keaney regarding

some work he had carried out, Keaney head-butted him, leaving him with a

cut to the bridge of his nose. The assault was witnessed by Mr. Rooney’s


The prosecutor said that Keaney was cautioned and made no reply. He

later admitted head-butting his employer in self-defence because he

wasn’t sure what the injured party was going to do to him. He said he

assaulted Mr. Rooney before Mr. Rooney assaulted him. He said he had

worked for Mr. Rooney for approximately three years and throughout that

time Mr. Rooney had been verbally abusive towards him. However, he

regretted what happened.

Defence solicitor John Quinn said that immediately prior to the injury

being sustained the two men were “head to head”. Keaney accepted this

was not the way to should have reacted to the situation. It was entirely

out of character.

Mr. Quinn handed in two references which he said showed Keaney was “not

a man who is disposed to violence or acts of aggression”. Throughout the

26 years of his adult life he had never come before a court before nor

come to the attention of the police.

The solicitor said the cut to Mr. Rooney’s nose measured one centimetre

long by a tenth of a centimetre deep, suggesting that was “indicative of

the amount of force involved”.

He told the court there was “absolutely no premeditation involved” and

pointed out that when interviewed, Keaney told police he did not want

anyone getting hurt. He wished to apologise.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he was satisfied this was a “one

off” incident and he was prepared to accept there was a “low likelihood”

of Keaney re-offending.

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