12 Aug 2022

Mountmellick man said he'd blow off judge's head

Mountmellick man said he'd blow off judge's head

A Mountmellick man who abused a district court judge and threatened to blow his head off has been given a chance to avoid a jail sentence by engaging with anger management.

John Horan (49), Mountmellick, appeared before the recent sitting of Portlaoise Circuit Court, appealing a three month sentence he received in the district court in October for threatening or abusive behaviour.

At the appeal at the end of November last, State solicitor, Mr Donal Dunne gave evidence that on December 20, 2016, the appellant had matters listed in the civil law court, but during the hearing of the matter he became abusive towards the other party and her partner.

He was asked to calm down, which he did, before he left the courtroom.

He returned some time later, when there was just the judge, the court clerk and a garda present, and became abusive towards the judge.

He made references to knowing the number of the judge’s car and said he would “blow the head off” the judge.

Garda William Whelan escorted him out and he told Garda Whelan not to put his hands on him.

The appellant had nine previous convictions.

Barrister, Mr Rory Hannify said his client wished to offer his sincere apologies as his conduct on the day had been outrageous and utterly unacceptable.

Mr Hannify said there was a very lengthy family law background to the case, with things very contentious between the appellant and the mother of his children. The appellant’s father had been gravely ill and on the day of the offence Horan’s primary concern had been for his children to get to meet their grandfather, when it became apparent that this would not be possible.

He accepted that his conduct was completely unacceptable, said Mr Hannify.

Judge Keenan Johnson said that family law cases tend to be highly emotive, but it was not in the interests of the appellant’s children for him to engage in this type of behaviour.

The judge adjourned the case to April 11 next, telling the appellant to undergo anger management and pay €1,000 to a domestic violence charity in Portlaoise.

He said if the court got a positive report back on the appellant, he would suspend the sentence. The judge also directed a probation report to assess the appellant’s suitability for community service.

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