Man who kicked wife on Valentine’s night had to be subdued with pepper spray, court hears

A man who kicked his wife after a Valentine’s night out and was so violent that he had to be pepper sprayed by gardai has been ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service or face four months in jail.

James Cleary (26 ) with an address at 52 Sliabh Rua, Ballybane, appeared at Galway District Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to two counts of being intoxicated in a public place and two counts of threatening and abusive behaviour.

The court heard that on February 15 this year at 1.30am gardai responded to reports of a fight in Eyre Square. When they arrived Cleary was seen kicking his wife while she was on the ground. When gardai attempted to intervene Cleary rounded on them, telling them to “f off”. The court then heard that the defendant, who was highly intoxicated at the time, had become increasingly aggressive after being informed that he was going to be arrested. The aggression displayed by Cleary continued to such an extent that gardai were forced to use pepper spray to subdue him. CCTV footage taken of the area clearly showed that the defendant had kicked his wife at least three times, with blows hitting her in the back and head. On July 25 last year gardai received a call to go to Mary Street at 11.10pm where they found a fight taking place. The defendant was seen on the ground fighting with another male and the two had to be separated by gardai. However, Cleary took exception to this and became extremely abusive and resisted arrest.

Defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd said that her client, who has 18 previous convictions mostly for road traffic offences, is “incredibly apologetic”. She added that when Cleary was shown the CCTV he was “shocked and appalled at his behaviour”. Noting that the incident which took place on a Valentine’s night out had not been romantic for Cleary’s wife, Ms O’Dowd said that the couple were still together and that her client had since given up alcohol altogether.

After consideration, taking into account that Cleary has no previous conviction for this type of offence, Judge Mary Fahy offered the defendant the chance to do community service. After a short adjournment a same-day report carried out by a probation officer found that Cleary was suitable for community service. Judge Fahy then ordered Cleary to carry out 140 hours or four months jail in lieu. For one count of being intoxicated in a public place he was fined €200 with three months to pay. Legal aid was also granted.


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