Seven months jail for dangerous stag party bottle thrower
By Martina Nee
A seven month jail sentence was imposed on a man who while celebrating a stag party put passers by in danger by thowing a bottle from a window in the busy city centre street below.
Gary Benn (21) with an address at 23 Sullane Crescent, Raheen, Limerick, was brought before Galway District Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in a public place, threatening and abusive behaviour, and failing to obey Garda direction at Quay Street on June 24, 2012.
Inspector Ernie Whyte told the court that at 1.45am on Quay Street the gardai were on patrol when they were informed that a bottle had been thrown from the upstairs window of a hostel, narrowly missing a passer by. The garda officers rushed to the scene where the found the defendant in such an intoxicated state that he was a risk to himself. Benn then became increasingly abusive and aggressive telling the garda officers to ‘f**k off’. The inspector added that this bottle incident was particularly dangerous as the pedestrianised street is full of restaurants and pubs and was very busy at the time.
The court then heard that Benn has 48 previous convictions which include public order offences in March 2011, road traffic matters in February 2011, a three month sentence for theft in June 2010, and a fine for assault as well as other convictions for theft and handling stolen property.
Defence solicitor Angela Dempsey said that the majority of her client’s offences have been related to his alcohol difficulties for which he is now undergoing counselling. She further explained that Benn is now the father for a four-month old child and that this has had an “enormous impact on his life”. Ms Dempsey added that Benn wants to be an active part in his child’s life and own up to his responsibilities.
“He knew the child was on the way on June 24,” said Judge Gibbons to which Ms Dempsey replied: “He is not the first young man that hasn’t taken things seriously until they saw the child in the flesh. He has been making efforts. He was in Galway on a stag night and has very little recollection of the night.”
“It would seem to me that his behaviour is dreadful. It’s a shocking act to throw a bottle out of a window. What is really shocking about it is the random nature of it... It’s an extraodinary development in Irish society to resort to violence for no reason at all. He put people in risk in the city of Galway, people who come to enjoy themselves. He meets the garda with abuse and bad language, showing no respect. Because of the extremity of his behaviour he ought to be removed from civil society for a period of time, he had no appreciation for the danger he was putting others in,” said Judge Gibbons.
Benn was then convicted and sentenced to a total of seven months in jail. Leave to appeal was granted as well as legal aid.