TWO gardaí from Skibbereen were assaulted in Union Hall after they went there to investigate a complaint of dangerous driving.
Solicitor Colette McCarthy said her client Lee Ryan of 48, Killure Manor, Waterford, was pleading guilty to two charges of assault, a public order offence, and a charge of obstructing Gda O’Conchuir in Union Hall on August 24th 2018. In evidence at Skibbereen District Court, Gda Padraig O’Conchuir said he and Gda Joseph Lee found a silver Saab, still warm, parked in Union Hall’s Main St and observed that both the tax and the NCT were out of date.
The garda said the accused – a 28-year-old father-of-three – went to get into the back seat of the car and it was after he tried to get into the driver’s seat that they grabbed him to pull him back out.
He described the accused’s behaviour as aggressive, saying he was swearing and lashing out. And he also threatened to assault Gda Lee another time when he was out of uniform.
Gda O’Conchuir said the accused struck Gda Lee into the chest and also jerked his head back in an attempt to head-butt him, but because he was shorter, he only made contact with his sternum.
According to the prosecuting officer, all attempts to restrain the accused and place him in handcuffs provide futile and, at one stage, while they were grappling with him on the ground, the accused kicked out and left a mark on Gda O’Conchuir’s forehead.
The gardaí called for the public order van for back-up. Even though the accused did calm down ‘slightly’ after being placed in the van, the garda said he continued to be abusive and aggressive on the way to the garda station. Insp Joanne O’Brien said the accused has 14 previous convictions. Ms McCarthy said her client was in Union Hall that day because his sister’s boyfriend is a fisherman. She said he came ‘under the influence’ and could not recollect much about the incident.
Ms McCarthy acknowledged that her client is a heroin user, but, in mitigation, said he is at phase six of becoming a mechanic. The accused also gave evidence and apologised for his behaviour and asked, for the sake of his family, not to be sent to jail.
Judge McNulty said a custodial sentence was warranted and he sentenced him to four months on each of the assault charges; four-months for obstruction; and 60 days for engaging in threatening and abusive words and behaviour.
Recognisances were fixed for an appeal.