Council worker alleged to have put sewerage in colleague’s coffee

The court heard gardaí believe the accused's motive related to issues surrounding overtime hours at a wastewater treatment plant in Athy, Co Kildare
Council worker alleged to have put sewerage in colleague’s coffee

A council worker who allegedly put sewage in a colleague’s coffee over a two-month period in an effort to maximise his own overtime will have to return to court in June to be given a trial date.

Appearing in Athy District Court due to the closure of Naas Courthouse last week, Joseph Byrne (64) of Castleroe, Maganey faced six charges contrary to Section 12 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act at the Ardrew Wastewater Treatment Plant in Athy between March 12th-May 18th, 2021.

It is alleged Mr Byrne “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.

“It is alleged Mr Byrne purposely put waste sewage water into his colleague’s coffee cup at the Kildare County Council Wastewater Treatment Plant where they worked,” investigating officer Detective Garda Scott Brown told the court.

Judge Desmond Zaidan clarified whether 'sewage' referred to "faeces and urine", to which Det Gda Brown replied yes, "on a number of days".

The court heard the victim drank the coffee and has developed "severe intestinal issues over a few months".

Det Gda Brown said gardaí believe the motive behind Mr Byrne's alleged actions concerned overtime hours at the plant.

The judge asked if Mr Byrne had been suspended from his role, to which the garda said he has been "out on stress".

Judge Zaidan described the charges against Mr Byrne as "highly unusual", with Det Gda Brown adding it was "an unfortunate set of circumstances".

The court heard Mr Byrne is also charged with criminal damage having allegedly added ferric acid to the victim's lawnmower.

Detective Brown told the court the there was no objection to bail, subject to several conditions, including that Mr Byrne sign on once a week at Athy Garda station, surrender his passport, and have no contact with the injured party.

These terms were agreed and Judge Zaidan remanded Mr Byrne on continuing bail until June 14th.

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