The case was heard at Naas District Court yesterday
A man appeared at Naas District Court last Thursday, October 25 charged in relation to an incident where he became violent in a Garda Station and assaulted one of the Gardai.
Garda Wendy Cagney, who is stationed at Newbridge Garda Station, gave evidence that on March 24, 2017 a woman and her child entered the Station and indicated that her husband was aggressive towards them.
Shortly afterwards a man, the defendant, entered the station and demanded to speak to the woman.
The garda had put the woman and her child into another room and told the man he could not see her.
“I make the rules here and I want to see her. I want to speak to her.”
The defendant was refused access to his wife and went away, but came back soon afterwards. He admitted he had been drinking, and became difficult again.
“No f**king bitch like you tells me what to do,” he told Garda Cagney.
“He clenched his fist at me and told me to ‘Get my f**king child now’,” the Garda said in evidence.
He ignored repeated instructions from the Garda to leave the Garda Station and eventually a scuffle broke out where Garda Cagney and Garda Marshall attempted to subdue the defendant. On the floor the defendant reached up and grabbed Garda Cagney’s thigh, her wrist and her tie and pulled them. Eventually Garda Marshall subdued the defendant using pepper spray and he was taken into a cell.
The defendant only has one previous conviction dating back many years and has come to no Garda attention since this incident. The defendant’s barrister explained to the court the difficult family circumstances at the time. The defendant had lost his job prior to the incident, and had successfully contested that legally. As a result of being out of work he was effectively his child’s primary carer.
He had come to believe however that his wife was having an affair and that his marriage might be coming to an impending end, and that he might lose his daughter. His marriage has since ended.
On the day in question the man had brought his child to the pub that evening and after a number of hours his then wife turned up and took the child from him. His wife had been due to travel to the US the following day, but subsequently did not.
“He was in a very difficult place,” counsel told the court.
The defendant has since returned to work but is now paying the entire mortgage on the family home himself. Counsel said that his client absolutely accepted that he was in the wrong and had apologised to the Gardai for all that occured.
“He was under immense stress,” he added.
Mindful of the sensitive details revealed in court, Judge Desmond Zaidan ordered that the defendant not be identified in press reports, in order to protect his child.He also remonstrated with the man for bringing his child to the pub, noting that the child “would grow up thinking that this was the norm”.
The judge said he believed it was the sort of behaviour that would warrant a custodial sentence, but counsel stressed that a custodial sentence on the man would affect his relationship with his child. Initially counsel said that a sum of €250 was available to the court by way of a gesture of remorse. Judge Zaidan called this an insult, and the defence increasd the amount considerably.
The judge said that he would not send the defendant to prison because of the effect it would have on his child. He adjourned the matter until a date in February to allow a sum of money to be raised.