Sacristan spat on and slapped by drunk man

A 75-year-old sacristan was spat on and slapped across the face when he told a drunken man to stop shouting in a church.

At Cork District Court yesterday, Judge Leo Malone said: “People — be they sacristans or members of the public — attending church are entitled to go about their business without interference by the accused or anyone else.”

He said a four-month jail sentence was appropriate.

Insp Michael McGuire said the defendant, Anthony Garvan, aged 55, was repeatedly causing problems at St Augustine’s church on Grand Parade and Washington St in Cork. Insp McGuire said at 6.30pm on Apr 20, 2013, Garvan entered the church and shouted abuse at people. When sacristan Bob Duggan asked him to stop, Insp McGuire said, “he verbally abused Mr Duggan, spat at his face and slapped him on the right-hand side of his face”.

Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said Garvan pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Duggan. Staff at Simon are trying to get a bed for the defendant at a convent where people are assisted in getting over the immediate effects of getting off alcohol. However, the defendant had to be willing to participate in this, Mr Buttimer said.

Garvan also pleaded guilty to being drunk and threatening during other incidents around Cork City, including one where he told a garda who was trying to assist him to “fuck off, you bitch”.

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