Man fined for ‘sinister’ filming of garda

A district court judge has described as “sinister” the act of filming gardai while they are carrying out their duties.

Judge Mary Fahy made the comments at Monday’s sitting of Galway District Court before imposing fines of more than €1,000 on a Latvian man who ran from a car which had been stopped and who then started to film the garda on his mobile phone.

Jevgenijs Velicko (24 ) with an address at Church View, Tuam, pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in a public place, threatening and abusive behaviour, and obstruction of Garda Annette Clarke at Tuam Road on March 27, 2009.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that at 3.25am Garda Clarke had become suspicious of a car, and called for further assistance just before it had pulled into Monaghan’s garage on the Tuam Road. When Garda Clarke approached the vehicle the defendant ran off but then started to film her from a distance on his mobile phone, and when told to desist he became abusive.

The defendant’s solicitor said that Velicko had been in the car with his uncle and they had just pulled into the forecourt of the garage. The court heard that the defendant did not know what was happening when Garda Clarke approached the vehicle, and “stupidly got out”. The defendant, who has no previous convictions, then became confused when Garda Clarke told him to go home as he had no other mode of transport.

Dismissing this explanation, Judge Fahy said that it was “sinister” and “outrageous” for someone to start filming the gardai.

Judge Fahy convicted and fined Velicko a total of €1,050 with three months to pay.

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