Two accounts given of Fireworks Night incident

Judge Mary Devins is to consider a case in which she heard two conflicting versions of events surrounding an incident on fireworks night during the Ballina Salmon Festival.

Michael Reape, 18, Springvale Heights, Springvale, Tubbercurry, denied using threatening, insulting or abusive behavior, failing to comply with the direction of a garda and obstructing a police officer on July 14, 2013.

Det Garda Leo Heaney told the court he was on public order duty, parked on Pearse Street at 2.55am on the night in question. He said Reape came over the car, leaned against the window and said, “You won’t spray me again Leo.” The defendant was aggressive and confrontational. He repeated this statement a number of times. He wouldn’t move back from the car, despite being requested to do so.

Det Garda Heaney said the incident continued when Reape began shouting at the Det Garda that he would “put another cut on the other side of your head”.

Det Garda Heaney said he told the defendant to leave the area and he did so. However, he reappeared in front of Det-Garda Heaney’s car a few minutes laters. He was arrested but became violent and resisted arrest. Other garda members assisted in lifting Reape up and putting him into the back of the car.

Reape denied this version of events.

He said Det Garda Leo Heaney pulled up beside him as he was waiting outside Supermac’s to meet his girlfriend. Det Garda Heaney said, “You’re back Skippy”, using a nickname of the defendant’s.

Reape said he responded: “I am. You won’t have any problems with me. You won’t have to spray me.”

Reape said he had been released from prison shortly before this incident and that’s what he was referring to.

Reape said he was asked to move on and complied with the direction. He moved down Pearse Street but came across a serious brawl, in which he didn’t want to get involved. He headed back up Pearse Street towards the taxi rank.

He said he was then arrested, out of the blue, and pinned down by several gardaí.

Solicitor for the defendant John Gordon said his client’s account was credible.

Judge Devins said she was ‘uneasy’ that there was no other evidence or witnesses from the prosecution. The Judge is to consider the matter, which is adjourned to April 8.

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