Judge notes how ‘breathless’ man could tell garda to ‘F off’

May 22nd, 2023 9:45 PM

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A BANDON man seen struggling to walk by a garda on a Sunday morning ended up telling him to ‘f** off’ after the garda assumed he was drunk. He was suffering muscle spasms but refused to give his name or address. 

At Bandon District Court, Hugh Hicks of 34 Deerpark, Bandon pleaded guilty to using or engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, and failing to give his name and address to gardaí. 

Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on February 12th last, Gda Wayne Cronin was on patrol on South Main Street when he noticed the defendant who was unsteady on his feet. ‘When he approached him, the defendant told him to ‘f** off. Gda Cronin was concerned for his safety and asked for his name but he told him to ‘mind his own f**ing  business,’ said Sgt Kelly.

‘He failed to give his name and was aggressive and he was arrested and placed in handcuffs. He continued to be abusive to every member of the gardaí that he interacted with.’ He has no previous convictions, but received the Probation Act for a public order offence in 2003. His solicitor, Michelle Corcoran, told Judge John King that her client, who is originally from Belfast, has been living in Bandon for 32 years.

‘He had been out the night before celebrating his 60th birthday and was getting the bus to Cork city the following morning when spotted by Gda Cronin,’ said Ms Corcoran. She said he was not drunk but suffers from Copd (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). 

‘As he was walking down the street, he was struggling to catch his breath and had muscle spasms. It is reasonable for a garda to assume that he was drunk,’ said Ms Corcoran. She said her client is pleading guilty but he said he wasn’t given an opportunity to explain his condition. The court heard that he later got the vomiting bug. ‘He fully acknowledges his behaviour was not acceptable and he has apologised to the gardaí,’ she added. Judge King said the defendant resisted arrest and had to be handcuffed and asked how would he explain that. Ms Corcoran said he was unable to catch his breath, but the judge noted the defendant still managed to tell gardaí to ‘f** off’.

He convicted and fined him €300 on the more serious public order charge and gave him six months to pay the fine, while he took into consideration his failure to give gardaí his name.

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