A man accused of calling gardaí Free State bastards said he had never heard that expression in his life and when charged he had to Google it.
When Nigel Garvey, who is in his 30s and lives at an apartment at 107 Douglas Street, Cork, said he had never heard the expression, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin asked him where he was from. Garvey replied, Dundalk.
There was some laughter at Cork Circuit Appeals Court at this point.
Judge Ó Donnabháin clarified, “And you never heard that before?” Garvey replied that he had not.
The judge said he knew judges were thought to be removed from society but he expressed some disbelief that he came from Dundalk and never heard anyone say, Free State bastards.
Garvey then said, “I was born there. I didn’t live there.”
State solicitor for Cork city Frank Nyhan remarked, “If he was born in Mars he would have heard that.”
Garda Colin Dowling said the incident occurred at Oliver Plunkett Street on August 12, 2019, when he was alerted about alleged drug-dealing on the street.
He said gardaí were searching people when Nigel Garvey, who had nothing to do with this incident, approached.
“He shouted at us that we had no f***ing power and we did not have legislative authority to carry out a search. He walked a short distance away but continued to shout abuse. He shouted Free State b*****ds,” Garda Dowling said.
Alan O’Dwyer, defending, called Nigel Garvey to give evidence in his appeal against his three-month sentence for being threatening and abusive.
Garvey said he asked gardaí if they were using reasonable force. “I might have said, this is a free society or this is a free country. When I was told I had said, Free State bastards, I had to Google it. I had never even heard it before,” Garvey said.
He said he would not give his name on the street “because the guard was so rude to me”.
Judge Ó Donnabháin rejected the appeal in respect of the threatening charge and affirmed the three-month prison sentence imposed at Cork District Court. Garvey had numerous previous convictions for public order offences.