Woman jailed for eight months for spitting in garda’s face

A mother of four who, while on a cocktail of alcohol and medication intentionally banged her head against a patrol car window, assaulted a garda by spitting in his face, and was verbally abusive has been sentenced to eight months in jail.

Marie McCarthy (37 ) with an address at Keeleys Cottage, Loughrea Road, Gort, and 31 St Bridget’s Terrace, Bohermore, was brought before Galway District Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to a number of offences including theft at Dunnes Stores, Edward Square, as well as obstruction of a peace officer and the assault of Garda David Foley at Galway Garda Station on June 20, 2010. She also pleaded guilty to failing to appear at Gort District Court on April 28, 2010, being intoxicated and failing to obey Garda orders at Galway Garda Station on December 31, 2009, being intoxicated and using threatening and abusive behaviour at the UHG carpark on December 19, 2009, and being intoxicated in a public place at Shop Street on November 10, 2009.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that on June 20 at 5pm a shoplifter was held by security at Dunnes Stores after she attempted to steal clothing and assessories valued at €37. McCarthy, who was very drunk, was agressive with gardai and began shouting obsenities. When she was placed in the patrol car she began banging her head against the window. The violent behaviour continued at Galway Garda Station where McCarthy spat in the face of Garda Foley.

At 9pm on December 31 last year a taxi driver arrived at Galway Garda Station because the defendant refused to pay the fare of €25.05. An extremely intoxicated McCarthy was then arrested. On December 19, at 7. 25am there was a report of a woman in a very intoxicated state at UHG car park. Inspector White said that McCarthy was abusive to security staff and to gardai, “calling them vile names”.

The court then heard how McCarthy has 58 previous convictions which includes a five month suspended sentence imposed in May 2009 for the production of a six inch kitchen knife during the course of a fight or dispute at Lough Atalia Grove, Renmore, on June 6, 2008.

Defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd said that her client has had “enormous difficulties in life” including “all kinds of abuse”, the murder of her partner in 2003, as well as being the victim of harassment and an assault. She added that McCarthy now suffers from severe pyschiatrict issues and was “in and out of the unit” at UHG for most of last year. Ms O’Dowd then said that McCarthy had been off her medication for a long time after September last year and had been “trying to get arrested” because she wanted to be helped.

Ms O’Dowd then said that McCarthy, who is a mother of four children, wished to apologise to Garda Foley for spitting in his face. Regarding the most recent incident the court heard that McCarthy had combined alcohol with very strong anti-psychotic medication.

“It’s unfortunate but when someone gets a chance they should take it. I will be as lenient as I can,” replied Judge Mary Fahy before reactivating the five month suspended sentence for the older matter. She then imposed a further three months, to run consecutively, and fined McCarthy €100. Leave to appeal was also granted.

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