Man avoids jail after drunken rampage

A man who still gets nightmares about being trapped upside down in a submerged car has admitted to assault and threatening behaviour.

Michael O’Neachtain appearance at Cork District Court yesterday on charges that included assaulting a barman and engaging in threatening behaviour inside and outside the Mutton Lane Inn, off Patrick St, Cork City, on December 16, 2015.

O’Neachtain, aged 22, of Derryrush, Rusmuc, Co Galway, yesterday pleaded guilty to the charges.

Acknowledging O’Neachtain’s six previous convictions, Diarmuid Kelleher, defending, said he had never never in trouble before he was traumatised by an incident in February 2014. A car in which he was a passenger crashed into water and was submerged upside down. One person was killed in the incident, and O’Neachtain had tried to save others in the car.

“This has changed his life completely, it had a devastating effect on him. He drinks to stop the flashbacks,” said Mr Kelleher.

O’Neachtain has started seeing a psychologist for his difficulties.

Inspector Gary McPolin said O’Neachtain turned up at the Mutton Lane Inn at 12.25am on December 16, 2015, looking for drink. He was told the bar was closed.

“He started shouting and cursing and hitting out at the air,” said Insp McPolin.

He grabbed the barman around the neck with both hands and tore at his clothing. This continued to the street outside where a man helped the barman, only to have his glasses knocked off and broken.

Judge Olann Kelleher said O’Neachtain could do 200 hours of community service instead of four months in prison on the charge of assaulting the barman. A suspended four-month sentence was imposed for causing criminal damage to the glasses. A concurrent two-month suspended term was imposed for engaging in threatening behaviour, and he was fined €200 for being in possession of cannabis at the time.


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