Lucky 13 for drunken axeman

A man arrested with an axe at a row outside a pub was given 13 months in jail but had his sentence postponed until October “to see how you've improved”.

Before Judge John Neilan at the District Court this week (May 6 ) was Eric Donoghue (22 ) of Battery Heights, Athlone, who was pleading guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and to drunk and disorderly behaviour on Connacht Street, half an hour into new year's day.

Inspector Nicholas Farrell told the court how gardai had been called to a fracas outside Browne's Bar at 12.30am on January 1.

“When gardai arrived the defendant had a metal axe in his hand,” said the inspector.

“He was very intoxicated and abusive to Garda Horkan. He resisted arrest and continued to shout and roar in the van.”

The Inspector told the court that Donoghue had two previous convictions from June 3 last year for public order and assault, for which he received a five month suspended sentence.

“He claims he had no involvement in the disturbance at the pub but accepts he was intoxicated,” said his solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, before calling Donoghue's mother as a witness and submitting documentary evidence about his client's depression.

She told the court how, on the night in question, the Donoghue family had gathered in her house in Connacht Gardens to discuss the defendant taking a more active part in the family timber and fuel business.

“That's why he brought the axe, he decided he was going to help the next day,” said Mrs Donoghue.

“All he had was three cans of lager in my house.”

“Your son was on medication for depression and you're feeding him drink?” asked an incredulous judge.

“If that's the way you're going to cary on, there's no need coming to my court.”

Mrs Donoghue accepted her son had his difficulties in the past but was “starting to get his life back”, was attending with his psychiatrist and was playing football again.

“I don't accept the evidence given by his mother. I think it's just excuses for today,” said Judge Neilan, before sentencing Donoghue to 11 months for possession of the axe and to a further two months consecutive on the public order charge, as well as a €250 fine.

“He's not seeing a psychiatrist, he's only got a referral,” he said.

The judge adjourned sentencing until October 7 and demanded letters “from all the people involved in this case to see how you've improved.”

He went on to bar Donoghue from all licensed premises for a period of 12 months and put him on a 11pm-7am curfew.

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