Man jailed for hitting judge in random assault

A MAN was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment yesterday for the assault of a District Court judge in Waterford city 18 months ago.

Wayne Roche, 20, of Harbour View at the Scotch Quay in the city, assaulted District Court Judge David Kennedy while he was out walking on March 19, 2009.

Roche was also sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the theft of a handbag at the Marina Hotel.

At the District Court in Waterford, Inspector Tom Duggan told Judge Gerard Haughton Judge Kennedy was “out for a walk” around the Scotch Quay area on the evening of the assault.

“He was approached by the defendant, who shouted a lot of abuse at him and struck him on the arm,” the inspector said.

Gardaí were alerted and Roche was found to be in a “highly intoxicated state”.

Judge Kennedy suffered no injuries in the “random assault”.

On September 29, 2009, Roche entered the Marina Hotel, also at the Scotch Quay, and stole a woman’s handbag. Roche, who has previous convictions for criminal damage and public order offences, also has drink and drugs problems, the court was told.

Solicitor Rosa Eivers yesterday told Judge Haughton her client comes from a “quite fractious background” with a “level of violence in the home for a very long time”.

Roche suffered from a form of “social phobia”, which was affecting his psychological health, he was involved in “drink and drug abuse” and this escalated to heroin addiction, the court heard. Roche had been put on a methadone programme at St Patrick’s Institution for his addiction and attempts had been made to “get help for his problem”.

Ms Eivers said there was “no excuse for his behaviour” but that her client had “been so strung out that he was unable” to avail of the help offered to him.

Roche told the court that he was “very sorry for assaulting the man out walking” and that he needed help for his “problem”.

Judge Haughton sentenced Roche to three months for the assault and six months for the theft of the handbag. He said the assault had nothing to do with Mr Kennedy’s role in the administration of justice.

“If the assault had occurred in that context, it would have been a very serious matter,” added Judge Haughton.


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