Man admits to sending Alan Shatter anti-Semitic emails

Court told John Dillon was acting in ‘manic’ fashion at time of correspondence in 2014

A man has admitted sending former minister for justice Alan Shatter a series of anti-Semitic emails. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

A man has admitted sending former minister for justice Alan Shatter a series of anti-Semitic emails. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

 

A man has pleaded guilty to sending former minister for justice Alan Shatter a series of anti-Semitic emails.

Dublin District Court heard Mr Shatter was left distressed and did not know what would happen next after he received the emails in which he was called names such as a “perfidious Jew” and “Yiddish whore”.

The court heard the man who sent the emails, John Dillon (55) of Whitethorn Gardens, Palmerstown, Dublin, was suffering from depression and “went over the edge” and began to act in a “manic” fashion after a long-term relationship ended.

Dillon pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court on Tuesday to harassing Mr Shatter between dates in February and April of 2014 under Section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

His case was adjourned until November for a probation report on his suitability to carry out 100 hours community service in lieu of a six-month jail sentence.

Det Ciaran O’Neill told Judge Anthony Halpin that in April 2014, the Garda Special Detective Unit, “commenced an investigation into a number of abusive and anti-Semitic emails to the then minister for justice”.

Dillon sent 10 emails over a five-week period to Mr Shatter’s email address.

The court heard an email sent on March 13th read “perfidious Jew unable to give a breath test, fuck off back to Russia you Yiddish whore”. Another on April 8th last year said “Fuck off back to the West Bank Zionist asshole”.

‘Political matter’

Dillon told investigating gardaí he was exercising his right to free speech and cited Bunreacht na hÉireann and European law. He said it was a “political matter” but Det Garda O’Neill told the judge “I think his position has changed since”.

Oisin Clarke BL, defending, furnished the court with reference from Dillon’s work and Judge Halpin agreed it was at “polar variance” to the emails sent.

Mr Clarke said in 2008 Dillon was put on medication to treat depression and he had to take six months off work. Around the time he sent the emails a 10-year relationship had just come to an end and this was the “catalyst that put him over the edge”. It was also the anniversary of his father’s death.

In his statement to gardaí Mr Shatter said: “I got them because I am Jewish, no matter how much a hard neck you have, persistence of that nature is upsetting and distressing. I was concerned one went directly to the Taoiseach”.

Judge Halpin said Shatter was then minister for justice and defence and it was to his credit that the emails “did not affect his prodigious output of work”.

He noted that Dillon has taken responsibility for his actions, shown remorse and provided references to the court. He said Dillon the mitigating factors persuaded the court to deal with him in a non-custodial fashion.

A probation report was sought to assess Dillon’s suitability for community service.