Man found living in a container bites concerned garda, court hears

A five-month suspended sentence was imposed on a Clare man who, after being found living rough in a container, became extremely aggressive and bit a garda on the arm.

At Galway District Court this week Cathal Connaughton (23 ) with an address at Apartment 6, 32/40 Parnell Street, Ennis, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to the assault and to threatening and abusive behaviour at Carrowbrowne, Headford Road, Galway, on August 16, 2010. A charge of obstructing a peace officer was withdrawn.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that at 12pm gardai received a call to go to Carrowbrowne as a member of the public had concerns for man living in the container there. A concerned Garda David Foley approached Connaughton, who seemed in a very agitated state. The inspector added that Connaughton then bit Garda Foley but that the skin had not been broken.

“It is a serious matter to bite someone,” said Judge Mary Fahy who was then told that a number of persons who worked nearby had contacted gardai as they were concerned for the welfare of this man.

Defence solicitor Olivia Traynor said that Garda Foley had found Connaughton to be malnourished and had worried about her client’s state of mind at the time. The court heard that in his statement Garda Foley said that Connaughton “bit down hard” on his arm and that at the station a doctor had been called in relation to the defendant’s mental state.

Inspector Coppinger then said that Connaughton has four previous convictions which include a 12-month probation for possession of knives offences in December 2010 and a three-month suspended sentence for theft.

Ms Traynor said that her client has a history of mental illness and that he is waiting for a place at St Patrick’s hospital.

For the Section 2 assault Judge Fahy imposed a five-month sentence suspended for two years on condition that he enter into a bond of €500 to be of good behaviour and to stay away from Galway city and county other than for medical treatment. For threatening and abusive behaviour a €300 fine with six months to pay was imposed.



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