A homeless man, with 38 previous convictions, has been sentenced to five months in jail for becoming aggressive in Galway Garda Station and breaking reinforced glass after his demand to be re-arrested and allowed to sleep in a cell was refused.
Shane Murphy currently of no fixed abode but with a former address at Davis Road, Shantalla, was also given a three month suspended sentence in relation to an incident at Ceannt Station when he became aggressive after being woken up by gardai and station security.
At Monday’s sitting of Galway District Court Inspector Mick Coppinger said that on March 4, 2012, at 9.17pm a male was found asleep in the toilets of Ceannt Station. Security contacted gardai and when they attempted to wake Murphy things “kicked off”. Murphy became aggressive, failed to obey garda orders, and resisted arrest.
The court then heard that on March 30, at 4.45am Murphy was being released from custody, having been arrested earlier, when he began causing trouble in the public office of Galway Garda Station. The inspector explained that Murphy had demanded to be re-arrested so that he could go back into the cell and fall asleep. When he was told to leave Murphy became aggressive and threatened to kick in every window in the place. Murphy caused damage to the reinforced glass on a door in the public office. He was charged with threatening and abusive behaviour and with criminal damage. Murphy was also charged with stealing a bottle of vodka, value at €28.48, and a bottle of Jameson whiskey, valued at €34.59, from Tesco at Galway Shopping Centre, on July 17, 2011. The inspector added that Murphy has 38 previous convictions which were mainly for public order offences but also included possession of a knife, tresspassing, and possession of drugs.
Defence solicitor Sean Acton said that his client has a long association with alcohol and drugs abuse and has had periods where he has managed to deal with these problems, however, he has relapsed after major personal difficulties in his life including the death of a loved one. Mr Acton said that Murphy had been treated in hospital in October last year after being knocked down and had been in a coma. He added that despite Murphy suffering from chronic pain he has refused to take the drugs prescribed as he “won’t take opiate medication” due to his addiction. The court then heard that Murphy had been found in Ceannt Station because he has been going from “pillar to post” and is now effectively homeless.
“He must have somewhere to live if he is going to rehabilitate. It’s almost impossible otherwise,” said Judge Mary Fahy who added that it was vital for Murphy to co-operate with the probation services otherwise “we’re going to go round in circles”.
Murphy was then convicted and sentenced to a total of five months in jail and a further three month sentence which was suspended for a period of 12 months with the condition that he enter into a bond of €300 to be good behaviour and make contact with the probation services immediately after being released.