Threatening gardaí cannot go unpunished, says judge

October 18th, 2019 8:22 PM

By Southern Star Team

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A DISTRICT Court Judge has noted that twice in one week he has heard of someone threatening the life of a member of An Garda Síochána or their family.

Judge James McNulty was dealing with the case of Patrick Coakley (32) of Derryleigh, Inchigeela at Clonakilty District Court last week where he heard that the defendant threatened to put a bullet in the head of a garda.

Mr Coakley pleaded guilty to three charges from incidents arising in Clonakilty on May 26th last and was sentenced to two months in prison.

Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on May 26th last a garda was dealing with an injured male in Clonakilty when the defendant – who had no connection with the incident – refused to leave the scene despite being asked several times to do so.

‘When the garda officially directed him to leave the defendant threatened to put a bullet in the head of the garda,’ said Sgt Kelly.

‘While the garda was assisting the injured man into the ambulance the defendant continued to abuse him and he was eventually arrested.’

The court was told that Mr Coakley has 60 previous convictions included at least 20 for public order offences.

Defence solicitor Eamonn Fleming said his client was ashamed of his behaviour and had apologised to the gardaí. The court was told that the defendant would be able to pay court fines as he works as a grounds worker and earns approximately €750 a week.

Judge James McNulty said this was the second time in the past seven days that he had heard of someone threatening the life of member of An Garda Síochána or their family and that such threatening behaviour cannot be allowed go unpunished.

Judge McNulty sentenced the defendant to 60 days in prison for threatening the garda and convicted and fined him €500 for being drunk in a public place. He also sentenced him to 30 days in prison for failing to appear at Bandon District Court on June 7th last, to run concurrently with the other sentence.

Recognisances for an appeal were fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €100 with one independent surety of €1,500, one third of that to be provided in cash. 

Mr Coakley’s mother acted as surety and lodged the money in court.

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