A DISTRICT Court judge told a former entertainer that there are plenty of people with mental illness who don’t go around biting gardaí and assaulting people out eating ice-cream.
Judge Colm Roberts made the comment when dealing with the case of Rosemary Howick who pleaded guilty to assault, trespass and public order charges at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court.
Ms Howick of 4 Castleview, Kilbrittain appeared in custody as she is currently serving a 14-month sentence in Dóchas Centre in Mountjoy Prison.
Insp Debra Marsh told the court that on June 24th last the defendant was drinking a can of beer at Long Quay in Kinsale when she approached an elderly couple eating ice-cream.
‘She hit the lady on the side of her leg and when gardaí were called to the scene she began calling them paedophiles. She was arrested and taken to Bandon Garda Station where she became more violent and assaulted two gardaí by biting them on the forearms and fingers,’ said Insp Marsh.
‘They did not suffer permanent injuries and are doing well now but it was still a bite.’
The second incident occurred in October 2019 when gardaí were called to a house in Kilbrittain after a man told gardaí that the defendant had entered his mum’s house without permission.
‘Gardaí could see her inside charging her phone and then she left the house and they arrested her.’
Insp Marsh told Judge Roberts that the victims in both incidents did not want to make a victim impact statement.
The court heard the defendant has 27 previous convictions including assault, public order and criminal damage.
Solicitor Tony Greenway said his client is bi-polar and all these offences were committed while she wasn’t in the right frame of mind and had not been taking her medication. He added that his client, who worked in the entertainment business, started getting into difficulty around 2017 after she became distanced from her family.
‘She felt then that she was possessed by negative forces which were telling her to do things when she was off her medication and felt there was a conspiracy against her,’ said Mr Greenway.
Mr Greenway said the assault on the woman eating ice-cream was a slap on the side of her leg and said she was not ‘mentally right’ when she bit the gardaí.
‘She is on a weekly injection and she’s a different girl now. She’s got more self-insight as well and is in a good mental state now.’ Ms Howick told Judge Roberts that she is not paranoid or suspicious now, is sleeping well and mixing with people in Dóchas, something she didn’t want to do before.
‘In Kinsale that day I thought the couple were laughing at me and I slapped the woman on the side of her leg and walked off. I’m ashamed that I was such in a delusional place,’ said Ms Howick.
Judge Roberts said that there are a lot of people with mental illness who aren’t going about assaulting people and biting gardaí.
Judge Roberts sentenced her to a total of five months in prison and fined her €100 for being drunk in a public place.
‘This could be higher but I’m taking into consideration the mitigating factors and I’m giving her some opportunity to stabilise her position but if she comes before me on any matter all my sympathy will be gone,’ said Judge Roberts.