A Swindon man visiting Cork approached two members of an Garda Síochána who were in full uniform and high-visibility jackets and asked them where he could get class A drugs in the city.
Garda Eugene Fitzgibbon and his colleague Garda Sinead Glanville were on duty at Washington Street in Cork shortly before midnight on Saturday, May 21, when 28-year-old Jordan Wingate approached them.
Garda Fitzgibbon testified: “He approached my colleague and myself where would he get class A drugs in Cork. And at the time he was trying to film us (with the video-recorder on his phone).
“As he approached he made a number of hand gestures. As he left, I asked him his name and he said, Michael James (a false name).
“He swung his arm to strike my face."
The garda added that he fended off the attempted assault and arrested the accused.
Garda Fitzgibbon said at the end of his outline of the evidence: “In his defence, he has apologised to me.”
To clarify that what was given in evidence, Judge Joanne Carroll said: “He asked members of an Garda Síochána where he would get class A drugs in Cork, he gave a false name, he swings at a member of an Garda Síochána, and he apologises today.”
Garda Fitzgibbon conformed that all of this was correct.
Eddie Burke, defence solicitor, said: “The fact that he approaches gardaí in this manner might lead one to the conclusion that he was highly intoxicated on the night.”
He said Windgate had come over to Cork to work a few weeks earlier and had been working every day. Unfortunately, he became very intoxicated last Saturday night, Mr Burke said.
He is still based in Swindon and living in temporary accommodation in Cork.
Judge Carroll said that if Wingate paid €250 to the Garda Benevolent Fund and another €250 to Tabor Lodge, drug treatment centre, the charges would be struck out.
Wingate pleaded guilty to obstructing Garda Fitzgibbon, giving a false name, engaging in threatening behaviour, and being intoxicated to such an extent that he was a danger to himself or others on the occasion.
As the matter was finalised, Judge Carroll said to the accused: “This was no way to behave to gardaí who should not have to put up with being swung at in the course of their duty. And giving a false name is an attempt to pervert the course of justice.”