A MAN who bit down on the finger of a garda and assaulted two other gardaí at a direct provision centre in Clonakilty almost three years ago has received a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Nkosiyapha Mguni (28), with a previous address at Clonakilty Lodge, appeared at Clonakilty District Court last week for sentencing on a number of charges arising out of an incident at Clonakilty Lodge on April 22nd 2019.
Mr Mguni was convicted at a previous court sitting of assault causing harm to Sgt Alec Butler after he bit down on his finger and almost caused him serious injury. He was also convicted of assaulting both Gda Trish Grimes and Gda Liam Ryan as well as criminal damage, obstructing gardaí and using or engaging in threatening, abusive words or behaviour.
The court previously heard that while attempting to arrest and handcuff Mguni in the hallway of the centre after responding to a call from a distressed woman, Sgt Butler got his finger caught in the handcuff and Mguni bit down on his finger. Gardaí eventually had to use pepper spray to restrain him and Sgt Butler managed to get his finger free from Mguni’s mouth. Mr Mguni also pulled Gda Grimes’ hair back and forth and she had her glasses smashed. Sgt Butler had said that he feared he was going to lose his finger.
Solicitor Vicki Buckley said her client is currently in Portlaoise prison serving a two-year sentence for assault that he received a Cork Circuit Court.
She said the court is aware of his background and difficult past and that it is quite clear that he has anger and alcohol issues.
The court previously heard that Mguni had been tortured in his native Zimbabwe.
Ms Buckley said her client is currently doing a number of courses in prison and has engaged with prison services while there. He is also engaging with Tusla on post-release and she said his wife and four children are struggling without him.
Mr Mguni said he wanted to apologise to the gardaí and handed a letter into court, which was read by Judge James McNulty in which he said he has learned to grow and improve his life. He apologised for his behaviour and said it wasn’t his intention to be violent or harm the gardaí.
Judge McNulty said the court has to take into consideration the serious nature of offences on police officers doing their duty.
Judge McNulty sentenced him to 10 months for assault causing harm to Sgt Butler, on the assault to Gda Grimes and obstructing gardaí, but suspended it for two years and said he must remain under the supervision of the probation services for two years.
He also directed him to comply with their recommendation as set out in a report prepared by them and that it should be attached to his probation bond.
He took into consideration the assault charge on Gda Ryan. Mr Mguni is to also enter a probation bond for two years in his own bond of €200 on the criminal damage charge, while his conviction on the public order charge was taken into consideration.
‘Please explain to him that a suspended sentence will hang over him and if he offends in Dublin or Donegal he will come back here. I will remember what he said and his letter too,’ said Judge McNulty.