A Wicklow resident who hit a garda over the head with a glass bottle while another garda was trying to arrest his younger sister has today been given community service instead of a jail term.
Raymond Martin (aged 24), of Killarney Road, Bray pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Garda Thomas Devereux and to being drunk in a public place on April 13, 2007.
Martin, a father of two, had 11 previous convictions, which included a number of road traffic convictions, but had never been imprisoned before.
Judge Ruairi MacCabe sentenced him to one year in prison but suspended it in full on condition that he completes 240 hours of community service.
A medical report showed that Garda Devereux was left with a large cut to the back of his head, which needed stitching. He was also left with a visible scar on his scalp and has grown his hair long to cover it.
Garda Jason O'Carroll told prosecuting counsel, Mr Roughan Banim BL, that he was in the process of arresting Martin's sister in Loughlinstown Park, Loughlinstown after she had thrown a shoe at him and witnessed Martin hit Garda Devereux on the back of the head with a beer bottle.
Garda O'Carroll said that he, Garda Deveraux and another colleague encountered about 20 youths there who were shouting and obviously intoxicated when they responded to a call reporting a public-order incident.
Garda O'Carroll accepted the suggestion by defence counsel Mr Justin McQuade BL that Martin had "always presented as a polite and respectful young man" and had cooperated with the Garda investigation.
Garda O'Carroll also agreed with Mr McQuade that the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that the case be dealt with in the District Court but, after hearing the evidence, the judge there refused jurisdiction.
Judge MacCabe described the attack as being both a "cowardly and violent assault on a garda who was going about his business providing a service to the community".
He said in his opinion Martin's offence was one against the community and as such he wanted to give him an opportunity to repay society for his wrong doing.
Judge MacCabe said he accepted that Martin was a devoted father to his young daughters and was a punctual and reliable worker who had "encountered difficulties" in his childhood.
Mr McQuade said that Martin had been diagnosed as a child as having learning and behavioral difficulties and had attended a special school for children with such disabilities.
He also had problems with alcohol and drugs and had moved from Loughlinstown to Bray in an attempt to turn his life around.