Can afford drink, but not legal costs

Portlaoise courthouse.
“PEOPLE making applications for legal aid can’t afford solicitors, yet they go out getting drunk.”

“PEOPLE making applications for legal aid can’t afford solicitors, yet they go out getting drunk.”

So remarked Judge Catherine Staines at last week’s district court, in the case of a Portlaoise man convicted of public order offences.

Paul O’Shea, 37 Oakleaf Place, was charged with threatening or abusive behaviour, at Clonrooske View, Portlaoise, on May 30.

Inspector Declan Dunne gave evidence that O’Shea was part of a group of males drinking in public, and when approached by gardaí he became aggressive and starting shouting abuse.

O’Shea has 27 previous convictions.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick explained that the incident had happened at the beginning of the recent good weather. O’Shea was the only man approached by the gardaí and he reacted badly.

“He used bad language, but he didn’t direct it at the garda,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.

Judge Staines ordered O’Shea to complete the Athy Alternative Project and the matter was put back to September 12. The judge granted legal aid, although she said that O’Shea could have saved up to pay his solicitor.