Chance for man who threatened to “shoot” garda

A security guard from Galway who threatened to shoot a garda escaped with just the Probation Act in the District Court last week (November 13 ).

Gerard Coyle (46 ), of Barrack Street, Clarinbridge, Co Galway, was arrested at Mullingar Garda station at 1.05am on November 1 after being delivered by a taxi in a very drunken state.

“He refused to tell the taximan where he wanted to go and he refused to give a name,” said the garda.

“His reply to the charge was ‘I’m as drunk as a skunk’. I arrested him... for his own safety. In custody he was very abusive saying he was going to shoot us and that we were going to be out of a job in the morning. He was put in the cell to sleep it off.”

Coyle, who was unrepresented, told the court he was a native of Navan and had stopped off in Mullingar on the night in question en route from Clarinbridge.

“I’m afraid I had a few too many,” he told Judge John Neilan. “What were you drinking? Rocket fuel?” asked the judge.

“Guinness,” said the defendant. The court learned he had no previous convictions, worked as a security officer and was divorced.

“It was very, very unusual,” said Coyle. “I can only suggest someone spiked my drink. There’s no other explanation.”

“Maybe the drink down here is a little stronger on account of it being nearer to where it’s brewed,” said the judge who then offered Coyle the choice of a €250 donation to the Garda Benevolent Fund or a conviction.

“I’ll take option number one, please,” said Coyle.

“You are free to go,” said the judge, “and you are always welcome in Mullingar. Fair weather in Clarinbridge”.

The Probation Act is the mildest censure available to the courts without a stain of conviction. It is usually offered in conjunction with a charitable donation and is only offered once.


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