A Portlaoise man who assaulted a garda at the courthouse while he was attempting to flee from lawful custody has been ordered to remain drug free and keep out of trouble until his next court appearance.
Jason Brophy, 24, of 24 Clonroosk View, Portlaoise, was charged with escape from lawful custody, and assault causing harm.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on October 11 last year, the accused was given a six-month sentence at Portlaoise District Court. After receiving the sentence, the accused ran from the court in an attempt to evade custody and Garda William Whelan ran after him.
Brophy slammed the doors of the courthouse into Garda Whelan, causing an injury to the garda’s hand, before Garda Whelan fell on the steps. The accused was apprehended outside the court.
Sgt Kirby said that Garda Whelan did not wish to make a victim impact statement, but he was very shaken by the incident.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said this was one of the most serious offences the accused had committed, although since then he has turned over a whole new leaf.
Ms Fitzpatrick said her client had attended a rehab scheme for his drug use and completed residential treatment. Defence also handed in a number of testimonials on her client.
Judge Catherine Staines said this was a very serious matter. She said that Garda Whelan manages the court on a weekly basis, managing up to 200 people who may be emotionally charged.
“I couldn’t do my job if he wasn’t here to manage it, it would be chaos without him. When someone assaults a garda I have to treat it seriously,” said Judge Staines.
Ms Fitzpatrick echoed these sentiments, saying that the local legal practitioners couldn’t do their jobs without Garda Whelan.
Judge Staines said she had been considering a 12-month sentence, however for the first time the accused seemed to be genuinely dealing with his problems.
She said she would put the matter back to make sure the accused keeps up his treatment, remains drug free and stays out of trouble.
The matter was adjourned to October 3 next for a probation report.
Judge Staines also directed that compensation be paid to Garda Whelan out of the court poor box.
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