Accused spared jail over threatening behaviour in Cork shopping centre

Judge says he will give man 'one chance' with 200 hours of community service
Accused spared jail over threatening behaviour in Cork shopping centre

The incident occurred in Paul Street Shopping Centre.

A 28-year-old man was ordered to do community service for threatening behaviour arising out of an incident where a young woman was waiting for her boyfriend who was using a shopping centre toilet.

Jonathan O’Leary, of 5 Blackwater Heights, Youghal, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to the charge of engaging in threatening behaviour on the occasion.

Defence barrister, William Bulman, said in relation to the evidence against the young man: “It is not a pretty picture, to be honest. He apologises. Basically, himself and another individual were engaging in conversation with this female and her boyfriend arrived and took offence at them talking to her.

“Mr O’Leary has since turned his life around and is now in gainful employment. I am asking you not to impose a custodial sentence.” 

Judge Olann Kelleher was concerned about the violence in the defendant’s previous convictions, which included five convictions for assault causing harm and seven for engaging in threatening behaviour.

The judge said: “Maybe I shouldn’t but I will give him one chance.”

The judge said he would put the matter back for a report on the defendant’s suitability for 200 hours of community service instead of three months in prison.

Sergeant John Kelleher said the incident occurred at Paul Street shopping centre on June 18, 2021.

“Gardaí received a report at the public office that there had been an assault," he said.

“A young couple were out socialising in the city and went to use the toilets at Paul Street shopping centre.

“The man had gone to use the upstairs toilet at around 7pm and his girlfriend was waiting at the end of the stairs. She was approached by Jonathan O’Leary and another man.

“She was made uncomfortable talking to the two men who appeared intoxicated.

“Her boyfriend came back down the stairs and when he saw this occurring, he confronted the two men. It was claimed they were acting in a threatening manner and shortly after this, a scuffle ensued.

“CCTV was downloaded and it captured the incident,” Sgt Kelleher said.

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