“Red mist” ruckus results in community service rather than jail

A man who “took the law into his own hands” when he believed his sister had been assaulted avoided a jail sentence in court this week (January 15 ) - despite 39 previous convictions.

The court heard how gardaí were called to Woodlands Grove in Arcadia on October 21 where they found Kevin Stephens (28 ), now with an address c/o the Simon Community, but formerly of Brawney Square, and Woodlands Grove, Athlone, fighting with a neighbour.

“He wouldn’t stop when gardaí arrived. He was violent and aggressive towards the gardaí,” said Inspector Aidan Minnock.

“There was a lot of drink involved,” offered Stephens’ solicitor, Mr Tony McLynn.

“Ah, there always is. You’ve plenty of money for drink, but none for your [solicitor’s] fee?” said an exasperated Judge Seamus Hughes.

“Judge, he believed his sister had been assaulted by this [unnamed] man. The red mist descended and he took the law into his own hands,” explained Mr McLynn.

When the inspector pointed out that Stephens had 39 previous convictions, the judge turned to the defendant and warned: “I want to hear an explanation for this. Pick your words carefully. You don’t seem to care for your fellow human beings or the laws of the land”.

Mr McLynn pointed out his client had pleaded guilty to this offence in November, and was engaging with statutory bodies.

“You present as a nice young man here, but obviously you’re a very different animal when you’re roaming the land,” added the judge.

However, accepting Mr McLynn’s previous contention, he asked the attending probation officer to assess Stephens’ suitability for community service.

When this was completed, the judge ordered Stephens to complete 240 hours of community service, instead of two months in prison.

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