A man who collided his uninsured motorbike into parked vehicles while drug-driving and then attempted to evade arrest by viciously kicking and punching gardai was sentenced to a total of 21 months at Galway District Court this week.
Thomas Barrett had also kicked a female garda in the stomach after being stopped on another occasion and refusing to be searched. The 37-year-old with an address given as 2 St Nicholas Park, Doughiska, and formerly of 73 Corrib Park, Newcastle, was brought before Judge Mary Fahy last Monday and pleaded guilty to a number of offences.
Inspector Sean Glynn told the court that on January 31, 2009, at 3.20pm gardai observed the defendant driving his motorbike dangerously while carrying a pillion passenger on the Tuam Road and followed him. Barrett, who went through red traffic lights, took a “sharp” turn onto Emmet’s Avenue where he collided with a parked car causing him and the passenger to fall off. When Barrett ran from the scene a Garda Brendan Dooher chased him on foot. Barrett resisted arrest by “kicking out”, hitting the Garda Dooher in the chest, and punching him. After the garda was knocked to the ground Barrett again ran away. He then attempted to climb over an eight foot high fence but was prevented from doing so by gardai. One garda was kicked in the head and face several times until assistance came.
After a “lengthy struggle” to get Barrett into the patrol car he was taken to Galway Garda Station where an intoxiliser machine gave a nil reading for alcohol. A doctor was called and cocaine was found to be in Barrett’s system. The court also heard that Barrett had no driving licence and no insurance.
On April 8, 2009, at 7.20pm, the defendant was seen driving a motorbike at speed on Doughiska Road. Gardai signalled him to stop but Barrett ignored this and proceeded into St Nicholas Park. When he was stopped the defendant refused to be searched and started shouting. One garda was knocked to the ground while Garda Orla Keenan was “kicked in the stomach”.
Defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd told the court that her client had been divorced from his wife but that the couple have reconciled. She said that Barrett had suffered a lot of loss throughout his life and had been hit hard by the death of his sister who had cancer. Ms O’Dowd said that Barrett, a father of two, had been doing well to keep off drink for six years but relapsed. She added that Barrett had also been put on life support recently after his heart stopped and his kidneys failed.
Inspector Glynn then outlined Barrett’s previous convictions which included road traffic offences, assault, and larceny.
“The way he has behaved is totally unacceptable. He got [High court] bail and instead of being grateful he breached it and in his haste to get away assaulted gardai and kicked a female garda in the stomach. His propensity for violence is very great,” said Judge Fahy, who convicted and sentenced Barrett to a total of 13 months and disqualifed him from driving for six years for the offences committed on January 31.
Referring to the offences committed on April 8 Judge Fahy said that “absolutely nothing” could excuse his behaviour. She convicted and sentenced Barrett to a further eight months. The sentence was backdated to April 28, 2009, and leave to appeal was granted.