A man with 424 previous convictions was ordered by a judge to go back and mop the cell he was staying in after he had urinated in it.
Richard O’Brien, 58, appeared before Bandon District Court, having been ordered the previous day in Macroom District Court to clean up the cell.
Sgt Paul Kelly told Judge James McNulty that at 2.53pm last Tuesday, January 14, gardaí came across Mr O’Brien at Sleaveen East in Macroom, where he had been extremely intoxicated, slurring his words and required garda assistance to get into the patrol car. He had a naggin of whiskey on his person when gardaí found him.
He had been arrested for and was later charged with intoxication in a public place, but once in the cell at Macroom Garda Station he urinated on the floor, resulting in a charge of criminal damage.
Sgt Kelly confirmed to the judge that there was in-cell sanitation. “He did not make any request to avail of any other facilities,” Sgt Kelly said, adding that Mr O’Brien had rendered the cell “unusable”.
On Wednesday in Macroom District Court Judge McNulty had ordered that Mr O’Brien - recently of the Simon Community, Anderson’s Quay in Cork - be detained overnight and get a bucket of soapy water, a mop and some gloves and that he clean up the mess he had made.
A garda from Macroom Station told the judge in Bandon that “a good effort” was made by Mr O’Brien.
He said Mr O’Brien had behaved well and said: “I wouldn’t say it is clean, sparkling and fresh", but added, “he made a good effort”.
Judge McNulty then ordered that Mr O’Brien return to finish the job, but Sgt Kelly said professional cleaners had since been called, as per protocol, and were now cleaning the cell.
Sgt Kelly said of Mr O’Brien’s 424 previous convictions, 276 were for drunkenness in a public place.
His solicitor, Diarmuid O’Shea, said Mr O’Brien had a serious drink problem.
Mr O’Brien, who said he was now living with his mother in Killarney, apologised to the judge.
“It was my friend’s 50th birthday a few days ago,” he said, adding that until then he had been doing “good enough”.
“I am so sorry for what I did,” he said. As for his efforts to clean the cell he said: “I left it clean. I left it as good as when I went in.”
Judge McNulty convicted Mr O’Brien on the charge of criminal damage and sentenced him to two days in prison, which he deemed to have already been served, considering Mr O’Brien’s time in custody since his initial arrest.
He said he would take the other charge of intoxication in a public place into consideration.
“I accept your promise that nothing like this will happen again,” the judge said. "If you are going through Macroom again, don’t stop. Keep going.”