Cork man 'cracked' after 20 benzos and told garda 'he would dig the head off him'

Accused went from kicking at the door of a parochial house to assaulting two gardaí
Cork man 'cracked' after 20 benzos and told garda 'he would dig the head off him'

Jason Crowley pleaded guilty at Macroom District Court to assault and obstruction charges arising out of the incident at Cloughduv in Co Cork on August 16 last year.

A man who downed up to 20 benzodiazepines along with alcohol "cracked" and went from kicking at the door of a parochial house to assaulting two gardaí.

Jason Crowley pleaded guilty at Macroom District Court to assault and obstruction charges arising out of the incident at Cloughduv in Co Cork on August 16 last year.

Judge James McNulty was told that on that night gardaí received a call from the parochial house that a man — Crowley, of Knockanroe, Crookstown — was kicking at the door and screaming outside.

By the time gardaí responded Crowley had moved into a house next door to the parochial house, the occupants of which met gardaí and asked that they remove him from the property.

Lunged at gardaí

Sgt Trish O'Sullivan told the judge that two gardaí entered and found  Crowley was grinding his teeth, with clenched fists, and he then began lunging at gardaí.

He told Garda Eamon O'Riordan that if he didn't leave he would "dig the head off him".

A struggle followed with gardaí having to deploy pepper spray to ultimately subdue the man.

Sgt O'Sullivan said  Crowley had lunged at and pushed Garda O'Riordan and that he ended up struggling on the ground with Sgt Sinead Radley. He was taken following his arrest to Bandon Garda Station.

The accused had bought a batch of 100 benzodiazepines off a drug dealer the previous week and took at least 15 to 20 of them on the day, as well as a large amount of alcohol.
The accused had bought a batch of 100 benzodiazepines off a drug dealer the previous week and took at least 15 to 20 of them on the day, as well as a large amount of alcohol.

The court heard Crowley had seven previous convictions, the most recent of which was in 2009. He had five previous convictions for public order offences.

His solicitor, Jack Purcell, said  Crowley was extremely remorseful and deeply apologetic for what had happened.

Mr Purcell said his client was a keen soccer player and that his local club was his "lifeline" and that on the Sunday in question they had played their first match since the end of lockdown.

Drugs and alcohol

Mr Purcell said Crowley had bought a batch of 100 benzodiazepines off a drug dealer the previous week and took at least 15 to 20 of them on the day, as well as a large amount of alcohol.

"He went completely cracked," Mr Purcell said of his client.

Mr Purcell said Crowley had nothing personal against the parish priest but rather he had had an issue with the institution of the parochial house as a child. As for the property next door, that belonged to a distant cousin, who had asked gardaí to remove Crowley.

Mr Purcell said since this incident his client had "sorted himself out" and was seeing his GP and taking prescribed medication. The court heard Crowley was "extremely hardworking" and worked for a tree surgeon in the employ of Cork County Council.

Custodial sentence

Judge McNulty said the case could only be dealt with by way of a custodial sentence, saying many people had found lockdown difficult.

"Your client took everything to excess," the judge said to Mr Purcell. 

The judge said excess alcohol could possibly be excused but that to then mix that with benzos, "it was hardly a surprise that he went off his head".

Judge McNulty added that the only positive element was that Crowley did not cause any serious harm.

He sentenced  Crowley to four months in jail for the assault on garda O'Riordan, another four months for the assault on Sgt Radley, and another four months for the charge of obstruction, to be served concurrently.

Recognisance for appeal was set at Mr Crowley's own bond of €100.

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