A young Limerick man spat at a garda’s face after being arrested for assaulting a woman in a house in Cork during the coronavirus restrictions in May.
Sergeant Damian McNamara said Harry O’Brien of 18 Abbeyview, Lee Estate, Limerick, reacted violently as he was being brought from the public office of Gurranabraher Garda Station to a holding cell on the night of May 12.
Sgt McNamara said that as soon as the handcuffs were removed from the young man’s wrists, he began to react violently towards gardaí and become uncooperative.
One garda was walking behind Harry O’Brien on the way down to the holding cell when the defendant kicked back at the garda, kicking him in the shins.
He then spat twice in the direction of a second member of An Garda Síochána. Sgt McNamara said the Limerick man spat in the direction of the guard’s face but the spit did not land on him.
O’Brien pleaded guilty to the charges of assaulting the gardaí. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman earlier.
Sgt McNamara testified that gardaí were alerted to a disturbance at Liffey Park, Mayfield, on May 12.
O’Brien came out of a house but on seeing the gardaí he returned to the house.
However, he later emerged followed by a number of people in the house who were accusing him of assaulting a woman in the house.
The injured party told gardaí she got “a box” from the defendant.
Eddie Burke, solicitor, said O’Brien willingly surrendered to gardaí outside the house because of the threats coming from other people in the house who followed him outside.
“He threw himself to his knees and put his hands behind his head,” Mr Burke suggested.
Sgt McNamara agreed that this did occur but said that the defendant and parties in the house then shouted at each other.
As well as admitting the assault charges, O’Brien pleaded guilty to being threatening and abusive and being drunk and a source of danger outside the house.
Sgt Gearóid Davis said the accused had 14 previous convictions including two for being drunk and a danger and two for threatening behaviour but none for assault.
Mr Burke said the defendant had made a lot of efforts through two residential treatment programmes last year to deal his addiction to tablets and cocaine.
It was while he was in Cork in Fellowship House that he met up with parties from the house in Liffey Park.
“He apologises for his behaviour. He did not come down to Cork to cause trouble. He is seeing a psychologist in prison,” Mr Burke said.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that as well as taking the personal circumstances of the accused into consideration the court had to consider the deterrent effect of a sentence.
He said the gardaí were out doing their jobs in difficult circumstances and that these were serious charges.
The judge sentenced O'Brien to five months in prison.