A man who threw a bottle of wine at a deli counter before assaulting the shop manager by biting him on the hand received a nine month suspended sentence as well as a fine at Galway District Court last Monday.
Conor Hughes (42 ) with an address at 11 Ballybane Neighboorhood Village, pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage of shop groceries and furniture at Londis, Prospect Hill, on November 18 2008. He was also charged with the theft of a pack of tobacco at Mace, Lurgan Park, Renmore, on October 18 2008, theft of six cans of Druid Beer from Tesco, Galway Shopping Centre, on October 6 2008, and the theft of white wine from Dunnes Stores, Edward Square, on September 22 2008.
Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that on November 18 2008, the defendant entered Londis at Prospect Hill and was refused entry by the manager and was barred. However, he later returned and went to the back of the shop where he took a bottle of wine and threw it at the deli counter, causing damage worth approximately €1,000. The manager, who was attempted to restrain Hughes until the Gardai arrived, received a bite on the hand during the scuffle. The court heard that the defendant had one previous conviction for possession of drugs in 2003.
Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client, who is originally from Westmeath, had developed alcoholic difficulties following the death of his father. He moved to Galway in 2001 and had been renting and “doing extremely well” until the death of his only brother. Hughes relapsed and became homeless. After staying in Fairgreen Hostel and then receiving help from Cope he secured accommodation in Ballybane but because of harassment from a number of individuals he had to be moved by the Galway City Council. Ms Corcoran said that the offences were committed during a space of a few weeks when Hughes had fallen back into his alcohol difficulties. She added that Hughes doesn’t recollect the incident.
“A bite can have consequences,” said Judge Mary Fahy.
Inspector Coppinger then informed the judge that the injured party had to receive hepatitis shots.
“I was not in my right mind. I was on two different medications and on alcohol. I have no history of violent behaviour,” said Hughes who was then convicted and sentenced to a total of nine months jail suspended for 12 months on condition that he enter his own bond of €500 to be of good behaviour. He was also fined €400.