Smart alec ‘good Samaritan’ fined for abusing garda

A smart alec “good Samaritan” who attempted to stop a stranger from drink driving was fined a total of €1,000 for public order offences, including verbally abusing a garda, calling her a “stupid f***ing bitch”.

Stephen O’Neill (29 ) with an address at 11 Fionn Uisce, Doughiska, appeared at Galway District Court last week and contested the charges of threatening and abusive behaviour, failing to give a name and address, and failing to obey the orders of Garda Stephanie Moogan, at Eglinton Street on March 8, 2008.

Garda Moogan told the court that at 2.55am she observed two men, one of them the defendant, holding a smaller man and “shouting in his face”. When Garda Moogan asked them to release the man, they refused, and she had to “push them apart” which allowed the smaller man to run away. She said that the defendant refused to leave the area when requested to do so numerous times and was abusive. After failing to give his name and address O’Neill abused her further saying: “Stupid f***ing bitch, this is stupid.” When the second man joined in on the abuse Garda Moogan then sought the assistance of Garda Dooher. When Garda Moogan attempted to put handcuffs on the defendant he “overpowered” her. Garda Dooher intervened and the defendant was brought to Galway Garda Station where he continued to be unco-operative and only gave his name and address when his wallet was taken out.

Under questioning by defence solicitor Olivia Traynor Garda Moogan said that the smaller male had asked her to assist him. Ms Traynor then explained that her client had came across the two men, whom he didn’t know, and realised that the smaller man was trying to get to his car to drive home drunk. O’Neill was only helping this man stop his friend from drink driving, said Ms Traynor.

“What business was it of his? He is not gardai,” said Judge Mary Fahy.

Ms Traynor then put it to Garda Moogan that her client never used “derogatory terms”. Garda Moogan did not accept that the defendant was trying to explain the situation and added that she had “felt very threatened”.

When O’Neill took the stand he insisted that he “did not make any personal comments” at Garda Moogan but instead said: “It’s pure f***ing stupid that there’s five gardai here and you’re letting a guy walk off to drink drive.” He added that he would have had no problem giving his name and address but he wasn’t asked for it at the scene.

Inspector Mick Coppinger put it to the “good Samaritan” that he was very abusive and that he did refuse to give a name and address. He said that when Garda Moogan ordered him to move away from the vicinity in which he was causing a problem all she got back was “a smart remark”.

“I took a step back, about a metre and half, and said I left the vicinity. She said I didn’t. I asked her what was the vicinity,” replied O’Neill.

“You were a smart arse,” replied the inspector who added that the defendant’s recollection was “coloured by drink”. He then informed Judge Fahy that the defendant had no previous convictions.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Fahy said the case was “indicative of what happens in this city. People trying to act smart instead of letting the gardai get on with their job. They don’t need the likes of this defendant, tanked up with drink, coming along and acting the smart alec and abusing gardai.”

For failing to obey Garda orders the defendant was fined €600, for threatening and abusive behaviour he was fined €100, and for failing to give a name and address a further €300 was imposed. The defendant was given three months to pay.

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