A CORK city woman who made sexually suggestive comments to a garda while he was questioning her in Leap denied telling him to ‘f** off’.
At Clonakilty District Court, Tracey O’Leary (45) of 11 Welwyn Road, Maryborough Woods, Douglas, contested all four charges preferred against her.
The charges included using or engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, being drunk in a public place, and obstructing a peace officer.
She was also charged with providing a garda with a name which was false and misleading.
Gda Barry O’Grady from Clonakilty Garda Station told Judge John King that at 3.55pm on May 13th last, he received a report from patrol about the defendant.
Ms O’Leary was in a red jeep at the Harbour Bar in Leap and alleged to be drunk at the time, he said.
‘She was in the driver’s seat and there was a young male child in the backseat. I spoke to her and she gave me her first name as ‘Tracey’ but not her surname. There was a strong smell of alcohol from her breath and I asked her to exit the car so I could talk to her,’ said Gda O’Grady.
‘She got out and immediately became verbally aggressive and told me to ‘f**k off’ and then turned and got back into the car. I tried to take the keys from the ignition but she grabbed them and ended up breaking them.’
Ms O’Leary then ran out of her car and tried to get into the driver’s seat of Gda O’Grady’s patrol car.
‘I removed her but she continued to be abusive and made comments of sexual nature to me. She walked towards me, shaking her chest and asking ‘do you want a bit of that?’ She said I should go and catch some real criminals.’
Gda O’Grady said the defendant then took a cigarette from someone outside the bar and left the scene, heading towards Kilmacabea. He remained there with the child and rang for assistance, while her family members arrived on the scene.
‘Following a search she was located hiding in a field. She refused to get into the garda van and because she was a danger to herself and others I arrested her.’
Gda O’Grady said that while she was being processed at Clonakilty Garda Station she scribbled her name across the custody record and gave her name as ‘Mary O’Leary’.
Defence solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said her client was upset that she had to engage with Gda O’Grady as she felt she wasn’t doing anything wrong and was waiting for her sister-in-law to return to Leap.
‘Her mental state on the day was affected by her anxiety and she reacted badly,’ said Mr Taaffe.
Giving evidence, Ms O’Leary said that she had been out the night before and had a few drinks. She had one glass of wine with her lunch in Leap that day. She said she started to panic as Gda O’Grady was asking her so many questions and her tax was out of date too.
‘I got nervous and he wasn’t telling me why he was there. I suffer from high anxiety and my fear was that I’d be arrested in front of my son. I didn’t tell him to ‘f**k off’ but did say why don’t you go and catch some real criminals. I think I was having a panic attack,’ she said.
She said she wasn’t drunk but was on medication. Insp Roisín O’Dea said that gardaí received a call that she intended to drive with her son and asked her why would Gda O’Grady make up that she told him to ‘f**k off’.
The court heard that she has one previous conviction, while Judge King convicted her on the two charges and remarked that he didn’t like the way she met the case.
He convicted and fined her a total of €900 on the more serious public order charge and obstructing a peace officer, while he took into consideration a drunk in public charge and refusing to give her name and address.
Recognisances for an appeal were fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €100 with no cash required.