A 23-year-old man who could give gardai no reason why he was cycling along a road at night holding a baseball bat was given the benefit of the doubt at Galway District Court and received a seven month suspended sentence as well as a €500 fine.
Patrick Joseph Coen with an address given as 31 An Lochan, Headford Road, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy on Monday and pleaded guilty to being in posession of a silver baseball bat, intending to cause injury/incapacitate or intimidate another, contrary to Section 9(5 ) of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990, at Merlin Park on December 19, 2010.
Inspector Sean Glynn told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions has consented to the matter being dealt with summarily in the district court. He further explained that at 10pm the defendant, along with another man, was seen by gardai cycling in the Merlin Park area. The court heard that Coen had a baseball bat lying across the handle bars and that he had attempted to discard the implement when he saw the gardai. When questioned Coen was not able to give an explanation as to why he had the baseball bat.
The inspector then explained that Coen has 29 previous convictions including sentences for assault causing harm, assault, threatening and abusive behaviour, and criminal damage.
Defence solicitor, Olivia Traynor, said her client, a father of one who is originally from Tuam, had gone to work in the UK at the time and had come back to Galway the day he was remanded. The defendant then explained that he had encountered, by coincidence, a garda checkpoint. Ms Traynor further explained that gardai would be very familiar with her client who has never given difficulty and is considered a sort of “loveable rogue”.
“Is there a feud?” asked Judge Fahy to which Coen explained that he had been going to his dad’s girlfriend’s house at the time. “I don’t know what I was doing,” he added.
“If I was to go out on a limb and give you a chance I don’t want to see you here again,” warned Judge Fahy who took into account that there was no assault committed. Coen was then convicted and sentenced to seven months suspended for two years on his own bond of €300 to be of good behaviour. He was also given five months to pay the €500 fine.