Defendant gets 10 months jail for spitting at garda

A man who was covered in his own excrement when he spat at a garda in courthouse, has been jailed for 10 months.

At Mullingar District Court, Judge Seamus Hughes said Richard O’Connor, of no fixed abode in Athlone had been disgraceful when he appeared before him earlier in 2011 at Longford District Court, covered in his own excrement and creating a stink.

Sgt Cormac Moylan of Athlone Garda Station outlined how O’Connor threatened him on the way to the Longford Court, telling him he would kill him.

After being sentenced that day on public order charges, he then spat at a detective garda, who is still undergoing treatment with anti-virals following the incident.

Judge Hughes said he vividly recalled the day when O’Connor arrived, dealt with by gardai who had to wear gloves.

He said O’Connor had put on some weight since he had last seen him and that he looked healthier.

When he told O’Connor he had been “a disgrace” when he came to Longford District Court, the defendant said he had been “bet like a dog” on the day.

O’Connor said he had suffered as much as the detective he assaulted, and said he had been assaulted by the garda.

The detective had been holding his cuffs down and was punching him in the chest, he said.

O’Connor has 100 previous convictions, four or five of which are for assault and five of which are for possession of a knife.

Solicitor Mark Cooney said his client knew his behaviour had been reprehensible in every way on the day, but said he’d been agitated because he wanted methadone and hadn’t received it.

O’Connor has been estranged from his family for some time, he said, and was homeless after he was recently released from prison.

He said his client apologised for what had happened in Longford Court, but said O’Connor had “issues” for a number of years with the detective garda he assaulted.

However, he had not intended to spit at him and had only done so because of the agitation caused by lack of methadone.

For obstructing and assaulting the detective garda, Judge Hughes imposed 10 months in jail, saying gardaí should have been fitted with breathing apparatus on the day they brought him to court.

He imposed a consecutive one month sentence for threatening behaviour and a concurrent 10 month sentence for threatening to kill Sgt Moylan, who told the court he was cagey around O’Connor but not in fear of him on the day.


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