Angry man gets six months for motorist assault

A man with “anger issues” who has been in custody for two months, was jailed for a further six this week (May 7 ) after being convicted of punching a motorist in the face. Stephen O’Reilly (24 ), with a most recent address in Sarsfield Square, Athlone, was before Judge Seamus Hughes to plead guilty to eight of 11 charges he faced - including the motorist assault - committed over a six-week period between January 22 and March 5. The judge enquired of Inspector Nicholas Farrell about the delay in the three other charges, presently before the DPP for consideration. “Judge, this is not a typical investigation. There’d be a fair bit of reluctance to come forward [by witnesses],” said the inspector, before confirming that the book of evidence into the case “is completed”. The court heard how Reilly had been remanded in custody on March 6 on these charges, and though he applied for High Court bail, was refused. No details of these three charges were read to the court, other than that they referred to an assault. The inspector went on to outline the other eight. He explained how, on January 22, a 42-year-old man was driving in the Willow Park area, when he was nearly hit by another car. After the driver flashed this vehicle, it stopped and its passenger - O’Reilly - got out and punched the man in the face, splitting his lip. Then, on February 14, whilst searching the house in Sarsfield Square where the defendant was staying, gardaí found a TV in his room which had been taken in a burglary in January. The inspector also detailed how O’Reilly had pushed Garda Mark Lucas to the ground and ran away on February 17, after the garda told him he was about to search him. O’Reilly was quickly caught by another garda. Then, whilst responding to an allegation of O’Reilly’s involvement in a feud flare-up in Ashdale on March 5, gardaí found him driving a car nearby without a licence or insurance, in which they found a kitchen knife and a flat-head screwdriver. He was also found driving illegally in Ankers Bower on February 22. “It wasn’t a kitchen knife. It was a butter knife,” contradicted the defendant. “My client was in care since he was five years of age, and would have had a difficult upbringing. He accepts he would have anger issues,” said Mr Tony McLynn, defending. “Has he even spent one hour in anger management [classes]?” asked the judge. “He has, in prison,” said Mr McLynn. “But what has he done outside prison to change his life?” asked the judge. “I need to move outta this town. It’s a bad environment, bad luck for me,” said O’Reilly. “Nobody held a gun to your face when you punched that man in the face,” noted the judge. “I’m sorry about that,” said O’Reilly. The judge acknowledged a letter the defendant had written him, and the fact he had finished the Junior Cert, saying “There’s always hope”. However, in noting O’Reilly’s 58 previous convictions, including threats to kill, he told him he had “a very serious record”, and sentenced him to a total of six months in jail. Mr McLynn sought that the sentence be backdated to March 6, and the judge said he would do that at O’Reilly’s next court appearance.



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