Agency engagement saves man with “appalling record” from further jail

A man with an “appalling” 93 previous convictions avoided a further jail sentence in the District Court this week (February 16 ) despite pleading guilty to possession of a knife and two incidents of public disorder in a week.

Superintendent Aidan Glacken told the court how Richard O’Connor (32 ) of 53, Willow Park, Athlone had been seen in a drunken state at around 10.45pm on October 26 at Ankers Bower, and when searched by the arresting garda, a Stanley knife was found on his person.

Five days later, in Custume Place, Athlone, O’Connor got involved in a fight that was happening there, and was “very drunk and abusive” to gardai who attended the incident in the early hours.

His solicitor, Mr Mark Cooney, told Judge David Anderson how his client had been released from a prison sentence in September and “was at a bit of a loose end”.

“On the night in Ankers Bower, Mr O’Connor informed Garda Shanley he had the knife and it wasn’t found after a search,” said Mr Cooney.

“A pre-emptive strike by Mr O’Connor,” suggested Superintendent Glacken.

Mr Cooney conceded his client had “an appalling record” after the superintendent had notified the court of O’Connor’s 93 previous convictions, but that he was engaging with the HSE for methadone, the Open Door project, and the Simon Community for emergency accommodation. Letters from each of these agencies were handed into Judge Anderson.

“He hasn’t come to Garda attention since October,” said Mr Cooney.

“He has engaged with these agencies and though his past history suggests he could relapse, he hasn’t,” he added.

“I don’t know, Mr Cooney,” paused Judge Anderson, before relenting and remanding O’Connor on continuing bail until May10 for a Probation Report.


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