Attack garda or hospital staff and you risk jail, warns judge

Anyone assaulting a garda, hospital staff or members of the emergency services was at risk of a jail sentence, a judge warned yesterday as he sentenced a man to four months for such a crime.

Patrick O’Leary, aged 43, of 55 Liffey Park, Mayfield, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Garda Kevin Dorgan at Annalee Grove, Mayfield, Cork, on January 12, 2013.

At Cork District Court, Inspector Michael McGuire said gardaí responded to a call to the area that two men were fighting each other.

When gardaí Kevin Dorgan and Michelle Conway arrived, the fight was over and no complaints were forthcoming from either party. O’Leary had blood on his clothes and cuts and bruises to his face.

“He was arrested primarily for his own safety and placed in the back seat of the patrol car with his hands handcuffed in front of him,” said Insp McGuire.

O’Leary was calm through his arrest but when Garda Dorgan sat in the car beside him, O’Leary struck him twice in the face.

There were some abrasions to the garda’s face but there was no major injury.

O’Leary was very intoxicated at the time and apologised to the garda afterwards. He had 67 previous convictions.

Joseph Cuddigan, defence solicitor, said Garda Dorgan accepted the apology from O’Leary, and pointed out that the garda and defendant had been sitting beside each other all morning in court.

Mr Cuddigan said initially that gardaí were assisting O’Leary but had no option except to arrest him. O’Leary repeated his apology in court.

Judge Olann Kelleher said attacks on gardaí, hospital staff, and members of the emergency services were unacceptable and those carrying out such assaults put themselves at serious risk of being jailed.

He sentenced O’Leary to four months for the assault on Garda Dorgan.

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