Judge unimpressed with criminal damage

Judge Seamus Hughes was so unimpressed with the criminal damage caused by a Mullingar man that he imposed a two month prison sentence.

He said no one is entitled to behave as Ciaran Heffernan, Dalton Park had, by breaking the headlight of a car, and then, because his anger was so intense, going around to the back of the car to break the rear light.

He imposed a consecutive four month sentence after hearing how the young man drove at gardaí while he was drunk.

On May 12, 2012 Heffernan admitted smashing the front and rear lights of the Toyota Avensis as it was parked at a house in Grange Crescent. The owner was in the car with a friend.

On April 7 at around 10.40pm, gardaí saw a silver Subaru driving erratically.

When they activated lights and sirens, Heffernan drove right at the squad car, forcing the driver to take evasive action.

When he was arrested at Grange Village, a breath reading returned an alcohol level of 76mg/100ml. He was coming home from a party.

Heffernan, who has 35 previous convictions, is currently in custody.

Judge Hughes said it made the criminal damage case much more serious that the woman and her partner were sitting in the car and could have suffered physical and mental shock.

Ms Patricia Cronin said the women had come to his mother’s house earlier and “had a go” at her because they thought Heffernan had broken the window at the home of one of the women.

He told the court he wasn’t responsible for breaking the window.

The car owner’s partner had been particularly aggressive to Heffernan’s mother, the court heard, and Ms Cronin said her client had been trying to defend his mother.

He reacted when he saw the woman’s car at another house when he went to drop off his child.

“I punched the car in thickness,” Heffernan told gardaí in his statement.

“I did do that and I’m very sorry. I was highly intoxicated and on other things,” he said of the €480 damage he caused.

Ms Cronin accepted that her client had problems with drugs but is doing a lot better now in custody.

She said he is making use of his time there and is working towards becoming an enhanced prisoner.

Noting that nobody in his district will use a car as a weapon to veer in the direction of gardaí, Judge Hughes imposed a total of six months imprisonment and disqualified Heffernan from driving for 15 years.

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