A youth accused of pepper-spraying a girl, and calling a garda “a queer” for refusing to fight him but arresting him instead, was given two future court dates this week (June 21 ) to deal with each of these incidents separately.
Patrick Power (18 ), with an address in Battery Heights, Athlone, was in court to offer two different pleas to both the alleged assault, and public order offences.
His solicitor, Mr Mark Cooney, said Power was pleading not guilty to the assault.
Judge Seamus Hughes enquired of Inspector Nicholas Farrell as to how likely the State was to progress with this case.
He was told that the named victim was hospitalised - where forensic evidence was gathered - and that the State also had an independent witness, other than the victim, to give an account of the attack which was alleged to have occurred in St Kieran’s Terrace on July 20 last.
The judge remanded Power on continuing bail on this issue until July 16 when he would hear this contested case.
He then asked about the public order offences, and was told by the inspector that gardaí on patrol around Burgess Park on the evening of March 17 saw the defendant “shouting and roaring” amongst a group of youths.
“Judge, when he was approached he started shouting at the gardaí: ‘Fight me. You’re queer. You’re b****rds’,” said Inspector Farrell.
Telling the court that it was their “first meeting”, Judge Hughes asked Power to explain his behaviour.
“I dunno. It was Paddy’s Day. I was mouldy,” he said.
In mitigation, Mr Cooney told how his client left school at 14, had been expelled from a FÁS course, was unable to read and write, and suffered from ADHD.
“Ah sure half the population has that. That’s just something from the imagination of three pharmaceutical companies. Where do you see yourself in the future? Working, married, emigrating?” asked the judge.
“Dunno,” said Power noncommitally.
At this point the judge turned to the probation officer and asked if Power might be suitable to come under the auspices of his office.
He then adjourned a decision on sentencing until September 10 to allow the Probation Service prepare a report.