Eye Cinema evacuated after pepper spray gets in vents, court hears

The Eye — evacuated during incident.

The Eye — evacuated during incident.

Film go-ers got more action than they bargained for when they were evacuated from the Eye Cinema after pepper spray got into the air vents during a student prank.

The young local man appeared at Galway District Court this week charged with the offence and with assaulting a filling station attendant with the same pepper spray two hours later.

Mark Gavigan (19 ) with an address at 79 Monalee Manor, Knocknacarra, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy last Monday charged with the alleged unlawful possession of a pepper spray, which had been made or adapted for causing injury or incapacitating a person, at the Eye Cinema, in Wellpark, Galway, on January 20, 2008, contrary to Section 9(4 ) of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

The defendant was charged with the same offence at Kelleher’s Filling Station and with the alleged assault of Wojciech Ziablicki causing him harm.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that at 9.45pm the defendant had been in the underground car park of the Eye Cinema when he began spraying a can of pepper spray. The inspector said that that the defendant had done this iniatilly as a “joke” but that the contents of the can got into the vents of the cinema resulting in evacuation procedures being carried out.

According to Inspector White, Gavigan later went to Kelleher’s Filling Station in Salthill. At around 11.45pm, the defendant approached the service hatch of the shop and ordered milk. While the attendant went to get the milk, Gavigan sprayed the pepper spray into the hatch. The inspector said that when the attendant returned to the hatch he became quite sick and had to attend A&E for treatment.

The court then heard that the Director of Public Prosecutions had consented to the summary disposal of the charges. After hearing the evidence, Judge Mary Fahy accepted jurisdiction and adjourned the case to February 9, 2009, before awarding legal aid.

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