Former barrister jailed for assaulting garda over order

A 72-year-old former barrister was jailed yesterday on a charge of assault causing harm to a member of An Garda Síochána.

Former barrister jailed for assaulting garda over order

John O’Donnell, formerly of Ballymagooly, Mallow, Co Cork, who was recently living in London, appealed the severity of a six-month jail term imposed on him on a charge of assault causing harm to Garda Cathal Sugrue on September 16, 2013, at Ballymagooly House.

Judge David Riordan, who heard the appeal at Cork Circuit Appeals Court, yesterday imposed a sentence of six months, with the last four months suspended.

When registrar Martin O’Donovan read terms of the bond to the appellant, O’Donnell said: “What is this for?” Judge Riordan said: “For the assault on the guard.” O’Donnell replied: “When I went to get my jacket, you mean. That is all I did.”

Garda Sugrue said he went to Ballymagooly House in response to a call on September 16 2013.

There was a discussion between O’Donnell and the guard about whether or not there was a barring order in existence that would have prevented the appellant from being at the house. O’Donnell said the barring order had expired.

When Garda Sugrue said the order was in force, O’Donnell became argumentative and would not accept that the order was in force.

“I gave him a number of opportunities to leave the property,” said Garda Sugrue. “I had no option but the arrest him. He became violent. He resisted arrest. I was punched numerous times. During the course of the arrest I had to deploy pepper spray, which had no effect on him.

“There was a violent struggle. I tried to wind him by punching him in the stomach which had no effect. I had to bring him to the ground. I told him I would use my asp [retractable baton]. I got one handcuff on him but I could not get the other one on.”

Sinead Behan, defending, said O’Donnell had no previous convictions and that the background was a matrimonial situation which was quite tense.

“He was under the mistaken impression the barring order had expired, so much so that he called his wife to collect him at the airport,” Ms Behan said.

Ms Behan said O’Donnell was staying with his brother in another part of the large house on the night and was stressed. He apologised for his behaviour.

Judge Riordan said: “Matters got out of hand and the guard made the correct decision to intervene. I have no doubt this is going to give rise to issues of compensation for Garda Sugrue which he is entitled to bring and I have no doubt compensation will be substantial.”

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