A PORTLAOISE man who told the gardaí to “f**k off” when they attempted to take away his open container of alcohol in a public place last week pleaded not guilty to a charge of threatening behaviour and failure to comply.
Garda Addhan O’Flaithearta gave evidence that in the early hours of March 17, he saw John Kelly, 69 Hillview Drive, Knockmay, Portlaoise, drinking alcohol in the Top Square, Portlaoise. When the garda attempted to remove the alcohol, Kelly told him to “f**k off” and continued to act in an aggressive manner. Garda O’Flaithearta said he then arrested Kelly under section 4 of the Public Order Act.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client claimed he had been walking home on the night when he was stopped by gardaí and told he was going to be searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Ms Fitzpatrick said Kelly had not caused any difficulties prior to this.
Garda O’Flaithearta said that the allegation of a drugs search was incorrect and he informed the court that Kelly was abusive and aggressive from the start.
Ms Fitzpatrick made a submission to Judge William Early, saying that as her client had simply been in possession of alcohol he was not in breach of section 4 of the Public Order Act. The judge disagreed, saying there was clear evidence Kelly had a case to answer for.
Kelly, who has 68 previous convictions, was fined €150.