Robertstown man jailed for threat to kill garda

Case was heard at Naas District Court

Leader reporter


Leader reporter


Robertstown man jailed for threat to kill garda

The case was heard in Naas

A 55-year-old man who threatened to kill a Garda in Kildare has been jailed.

At Naas District Court on February 21, John Coyne (Senior), with an address at 23 Grove Heights, Robertstown, appeared on a number of public order charges in relation to an incident on July 19, 2016.

The charges included a breach of the peace, failing to obey Garda instructions and an offence involving a threat to kill a garda.

Mr Coyne had appeared before the court in relations to the charges on October 5 last.

The court was told then that, when the charges were put to Mr Coyne, he replied that they were “a load of bollocks”.

Judge Desmond Zaidan was told then that the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that the charges be tried summarily in the District Court.

Asked by the judge what was being alleged, Gardai said that on the day in question, they came across a car at Grove Lane, Robertstown around 12 noon and recognised the driver as Mr Coyne’s son, also named John (23).

The Gardai say told them they were going to seize the car and that there was a mobile phone on the seat of it. Mr Coyne Jr drove to the defendant’s address, where the gardai seized the car.

Mr Coyne (Senior) demanded the return of the phone. It is alleged he then said to a Garda: “If you don’t return the phone, you will get it.”

Gardai alleged that a number of people in the area were hostile. It is not alleged that there was any physical assault on the occasion but the judge was told that the “Gardai were fearful”.

On February 21, Garda Sgt Des McHale gave evidence when Mr Coyne appeared for sentencing.  He told the court that Garda Kevin Williamson was threatened and that the Gardai “had to retreat for safety”.

Tim Kennelly, solicitor, representing Mr Coyne (senior), said his client was quite remorseful.

Sgt McHale said said that Mr Coyne pleaded guilty early to the charge.

He said the defendant had two previous convictions, one for drink driving in 1997 and one for burglary in 1984, for which he received a 12 month sentence at Naas Circuit Court.

Mr Kennelly said Mr Coyne Sr had just lost his father before the incident in July 2016. Judge Zaidan said Mr Coyne had not mentioned that to the Gardai at the time.

Mr Kennelly said Mr Coyne accepted his behaviour was wrong. “He will never do it again,” said the solicitor. “He was upset at the time. There was no substance (to the threat to kill).” He said Mr Coyne would be open to community service order and asked the judge to treat the matter as a first time offence.

Judge Zaidan said that Mr Coyne had two previous convictions. He obstructed the Gardai and “threatened to kill one of the Gardai”.

Judge Zaidan said one had to go back to the reality of the situation,  not get it second or third hand in court, to get the feel of the tension on the occasion. “There are significant aggravating features.”

Judge Zaidan said the Gardai are employed to carry out their duties. “The gardai had to retreat because of what they were confronted with.”

He said the garda had been told he would be got. The judge said that the message should go out that you cannot do that to gardai carrying out their duty. “It is a no no,” he said.

He have Mr Coyne a 10-month sentence for threatening to kill Garda Williamson and a two month consecutive sentence for obstructing the Garda. “This is very serious,” he said. Judge Zaidan added: “In other States, the gardai would not be here today. They would be using firearms. All he (Mr Coyne) gets is 12 months in prison.”

He fixed recognizances in the event of an appeal.