15 Aug 2022

'Very articulate letter' from man who called gardaí 'pigs' at train station

portlaoise court

Judge Catherine Staines

A man had to be pepper-sprayed by gardaí due to the violence and aggression he showed toward them.

Michael Buckingham (26), Gracefield, Portarlington was charged with public order offences at Portlaoise Train Station, on April 16 last. He was also charged with attempting to gain entry into a parked car at the same location.

He also faced two public order charges following an incident at Main Street, Portarlington on March 30 last year. In addition to this, he was charged with theft of a bottle of wine from Gala Shop, Portarlington on the same date.

Sergeant JJ Kirby told the court the defendant was intoxicated and called a garda a “w**ker and a c**t” in the incident in Portarlington.

During the other incident, the defendant became angry at staff at Portlaoise Train Station and spat three times at the window they were working behind because they would not give him a free ticket. He wanted to get a train ticket to go to Portarlington.

On this occasion, he also tried to get into a parked car. He called gardaí “pigs and w**kers” when they arrived on the scene.

The defendant had 10 previous convictions for misuse of drugs, public order and obstruction of gardaí.

Defence solicitor Philip Meagher said the defendant has alcohol and drug addiction issues and had become homeless. He had become estranged from his parents who could “no longer handle him”.

The defendant has since secured accommodation and is engaging with the Simon Community. A letter of apology was written by the defendant.

“He had very little recollection of the incident due to drugs and alcohol but was horrified by his actions. To use his own phrase ‘that would not be his style’ and he apologises for it,” Mr Meagher said.

Judge Catherine Staines noted the defendant had written a “very articulate letter”, which she was impressed with. In it he accepted responsibility for his “reckless and disgusting actions” and said his addiction has “cost me everything”.

If the defendant can get back on track, then it will be better for society, Judge Staines said. She hoped he would get treatment for his addiction.

Putting the case back to January 3 next for a probation report, Judge Staines said, “I hope you take all the helpt you are given, if you do I will consider a peace bond,” she said.

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