Teen spits in garda’s face, court told

A teenager who failed to take the chance given to her and who spat in a garda’s face during an arrest received 10 months detention this week.

Nineteen-year-old Gemma Ridgard with an address at 11 St Finbarrs Terrace, Bohermore, appeared at Galway District Court on Monday where she pleaded guilty to a number of public order offences, assault, and an attempted car break-in for which she received a total of four months detention. However her period of detention was increased after a six-month suspended sentence was reactivated.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that on April 23, 2010, at 8.45pm Ridgard was with a male friend at Walter Macken Place in Mervue. Ridgard, who was in a very intoxicated state, began smashing bottles and gardai found it necessary to arrest her for her own protection. Ridgard was again in an intoxicated state on May 2 at Walter Macken Terrace. Gardai arrived at the scene at around 2am and during the arrest Ridgard assaulted Garda Mark Kerrisk by spitting into his face. On June 6 at 2.20am in the Dyke Road car park the drunk defendant and a male accomplice were breaking into a car when the alarm went off.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client has a “tenuous” relationship with her family and has been living away from home since she was 14 years old. She said that Ridgard, who is now living in Cork with an older sibling, is a “young vulnerable person” who needs support and guidence.

When Judge Mary Fahy enquired who the male accomplice was she was told that this person was Ridgard’s boyfriend.

“It’s not his fault I’m getting into trouble,” said Ridgard, who has 15 previous convictions, the last of which is a six month suspended sentence imposed in January of this year for robbery. Following a short adjournment Judge Fahy noted that the suspended sentence will have to be reactivated.

Ms Corcoran asked Judge Fahy to reconsider imposing a sentence. “She’s laughing behind your back,” said Judge Fahy to which Ms Corcoran replied: “She lacks maturity. She is not blaming anyone else.”

Referring to the previous conviction for robbery Judge Fahy said Ridgard was given a chance which she failed to take. The 10 month sentence was backdated to June 6 and leave to appeal was granted.


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