Woman has four months suspended for spitting at garda

A 21-year-old woman who, following the arrest of her friend, banged aggressively on the patrol van, violently kicked out, and spat at a garda, narrowly avoided a custodial sentence, instead receiving a four month suspended sentence.

Sarah O’Connor (21 ) with an address at 49 Knocknacarra Park, appeared before Galway District Court on Monday charged with being intoxicated in a public place, threatening and abusive behaviour, and obstruction at Galway Garda Station on May 27, 2011. O’Connor was also charged with being intoxicated in a public place and threatening and abusive behaviour at McDonald’s, Shop Street, on September 11, 2011.

The court heard how on May 27 gardai had been dealing with another individual when the defendant came and started banging aggressively on the side of the patrol van. O’Connor was then arrested, however when being placed in the custody area at Galway Garda Station she spat at one garda and continued to kick out violently. It was further revealed that O’Connor has six previous convictions which include a community service order imposed in September for public order offences.

Defence solicitor Olivia Traynor said that her client realises that it is a serious matter to “spit at anyone”. She added that a friend had been arrested and O’Connor had taken umbrage to this. Referring to the offences at McDonald’s Ms Traynor explained that O’Connor had been fast asleep and she became aggressive when woken up. The court then heard that O’Connor apologises for her behaviour and that she has difficulties with alcohol. Ms Traynor said that O’Connor has secured employment and has been deemed suitable for community service.

“I’m very tempted to impose a custodial sentence, but I want to give her the opportunity to continue with community service,” said Judge Mary Fahy before convicting O’Connor and imposing a total of four months in prison suspended for a period of 12 months, on condition that she enter into a bond of €300 to be of good behaviour. A fine of €100 with three months to pay was also imposed.


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