A former Fianna Fáil councillor — described by a retired garda as “the most arrogant man I ever encountered” — was yesterday convicted of being drunk and a danger, being threatening, abusive, or insulting, and carrying a knife.
Gary O’Flynn, of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, denied all three charges. Judge Olann Kelleher convicted him after a day-long trial at Cork District Court, adjourning sentencing until Jan 11.
O’Flynn, aged 37, is a former councillor for Fianna Fáil on Cork City Council and is the son of former Fianna Fáil TD, Noel O’Flynn.
The incident that gave rise to the case occurred at Gorby’s nightclub on Feb 26, 2011. O’Flynn was approached by the owner, Niall Kearney, after a woman alleged that the defendant had thrown drink over her — an allegation refuted by O’Flynn and never pursued by the woman who initially complained.
Mr Kearney testified: “He basically told me to fuck myself. He said, ‘Get out of my face, I am not going anywhere for you.’ He said, ‘I am a practising solicitor — try and make me leave’.”
Sgt Shane Ellis and Garda Kieran O’Donovan responded to a call to come to Gorby’s where they found the defendant refusing to leave.
Garda O’Donovan, now retired, said in all his years in the force the defendant was the most arrogant man he had ever met. Sgt Ellis said he tried to reason with him and get him to calm down but that O’Flynn was agitated and shouting at Mr Kearney for a refund.
Eventually, he was arrested under the Public Order Act and escorted down the stairs and into a Garda van.
Asked later about a knife in O’Flynn’s pocket, Sgt Ellis noted the reply: “I have it for my own protection and I will use it again.”
When this was read to O’Flynn, the sergeant asked him if he stood over the comment. He replied: “Absolutely.”
In the witness box yesterday, O’Flynn said he did not make that reply, and said it was an office knife for opening boxes and that he used it during a self-defence class designed to instruct people in how to disarm an attacker armed with a knife. He said the knife was used in a class earlier that day as a prop for that purpose.
Questioned by Sgt Ellis in a voluntary interview a few weeks after the incident, O’Flynn was asked if he had deliberately poured drink on a Spanish student at the club. He replied: “Absolutely, emphatically no. The reason I would not do that is I value my pint.”
O’Flynn said he did not recall being handcuffed on the night. Judge Kelleher was surprised he did not remember something so unusual and asked if he had ever been handcuffed before.
O’Flynn replied: “No judge, have you ever been handcuffed?”
Judge Kelleher replied: “No, but I would remember it if I was.”
Alan Daly, a friend who was with the defendant, said O’Flynn was insisting on a refund. Another friend, James Salmon, said the defendant was not really aggressive or abusive.
Ray Boland, defending, submitted that his client was not guilty on all three counts, but added: “He is a character who seems to rub people up the wrong way.”
Judge Kelleher convicted him on all three counts and said it had been his right to fight the case “tooth and nail”. The judge said O’Flynn showed no remorse for anything that happened on the night.
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