Hotelier says she no longer feels safe in her hometown

March 21st, 2019 11:55 AM

By Southern Star Team

O'Donovan's Hotel, Clonakilty.

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A Clonakilty man who was barred for life from a local hotel was jailed for two years for violently kicking in a door at the premises during a Christmas visit.

‘Does he understand the meaning of the word, barred?’ Judge Gerard O’Brien asked at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Desmond Hayes barrister explained that 40-year-old Robert O’Donoghue of 2 Assumption Place, Clonakilty had been in the same premises a few nights earlier and believed that a brother of the woman who told him he was barred had no problem with him being on the premises.

Judge Gerard O’Brien who heard the evidence of the trial of O’Donoghue on the criminal damage and other charges said, ‘That is simply not credible.’

Mr Hayes BL said of O’Donoghue, ‘He will not be going into O’Donovan’s Hotel ever again.’

Sergeant Kevin Long who investigated the case read a  victim impact statement from Dena O’Donovan of O’Donovan’s hotel, Pearse Street, Clonakilty, in which she said the aggression shown to her by O’Donoghue shook her to the core and caused her fear that made her look over her shoulder now.

‘I no longer feel safe in my own home or in my own town,’ Ms O’Donovan said.

Mr Hayes BL said, ‘He would like to express his remorse. He is apologetic. He accepts the verdict of the jury for criminal damage. Kicking of the door does not show aggression. She has nothing to worry about. He poses no threat to her.’ He said the defendant was drinking that night arising out of a family tragedy.

Judge O’Brien saw CCTV of the defendant kicking the locked door in the hotel where Ms O’Donovan was on the other side of the door.

The judge said the ferocity of the kicking of the door would have caused anyone to feel extremely intimidated. The judge said the defendant’s demeanour and defiance during the trial would have contributed to the victim feeling fear.

A jury found O’Donoghue guilty of causing damage and not guilty of threatening to causing damage and threatening to kill or cause injury.

The judge imposed a sentence of five years with the last three years suspended. Registrar, Shay Bowen, put the conditions of the suspension to the defendant, and they included remaining sober, not going within 10 metres of the hotel and writing a letter of apology to the victim, and asked if he acknowledged himself bound by the conditions. Mr Hayes BL said he needed to take instructions from O’Donoghue at that stage.

Judge O’Brien expressed disbelief that instructions could be needed in relation to a sentence imposed by the court and commented on the fact that defendant and the barrister were in conversation during the sentencing.

The judge said to the barrister: ‘When the conditions were outlined, neither you nor he were listening. This is basic etiquette of court. He did not listen and neither did you.’

Judge O’Brien rose for a few minutes and when he returned the defendant acknowledged himself bound by the conditions on which three years of the five-year sentence were suspended.

The incident that gave rise to the case occurred at the hotel on December 27 2017. 

Sgt Long said the defendant’s previous convictions included four years for breaking into a house in Cork carrying a shotgun with the barrel sawn off and wearing a balaclava. For extortion, O’Donghue was sentenced in an Amsterdam court to 407 days in prison. Other Irish convictions included assaults, criminal damage, burglary, public order and drug-dealing, Sgt Long said.

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