A conflict of evidence between the State and a Mountmellick man charged with public order offences resulted in the case being struck out at last week’s Portlaoise District Court.
Graham Lambert, 58 College View, Mountmellick, was charged with being intoxicated in a public place, and threatening or abusive behaviour, at College View, Mountmellick, on August 28 this year.
Garda Gerard Doolan gave evidence that he was on patrol on the night, when he came across the accused in College View, involved in a verbal shouting match with a male in an apartment above.
Garda Doolan said the accused was shouting verbal abuse, claiming the man in the apartment above had broken his window and the accused was “going to f**king get him”.
The garda said he noticed the accused was intoxicated and told him to desist.
Garda Doolan said the accused became very aggressive, telling the garda “nobody f**king tells me what to do… f**k off… f**k you.”
Garda Doolan said that a number of other residents of the area came out of their homes because of the commotion.
“They came on the scene because of the roaring and shouting,” said Garda Doolan.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that defence had an issue with the lack of CCTV provided by the State. She said her client maintained there was CCTV covering the area, and she had written to the State inquiring after this but received no response.
Garda Doolan said that CCTV covered certain areas of the estate, but he did not notice CCTV cameras in the area of the alleged offence.
He said that he did not seek any CCTV footage, as he would have had to contact the company responsible and get them to download it.
“I’m satisfied the arrest was warranted,” he said.
“Do you think it fair that all of the evidence isn’t before the court?” asked Ms Fitzpatrick.
“That’s not for me to say,” replied Garda Doolan.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that her client did not accept the garda’s version of events, although he accepted he had a conversation with the other man about the breaking of the window.
Garda Doolan said that the accused had been intoxicated, so he informed him that if he wished to make a complaint about the window he could do so the following day.
He said that he did see damage to a window, but as this was on a door into the apartments he did not know if the accused could claim ownership.
The garda said that the accused did not attend the garda station the next day to make a complaint.
Garda Doolan also confirmed to Ms Fitzpatrick that no formal complaint was made to the gardaí from any residents of the estate in relation to the alleged disturbance on the night.
The garda also said that the accused became aggressive when handcuffed and resisted arrest.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that her client would say he only drink four cans of beer.
She made a submission to the court, saying the State had failed to show her client had been so intoxicated as to be a danger, nor had it proved her client had using threatening or abusive behaviour.
In response, Inspector Aidan Farrelly said that Garda Doolan indicated the accused had been very intoxicated and had used insulting words by telling the garda to f**k off.
Judge Aeneas McCarthy ruled there was insufficient evidence on the intoxication charge and struck this matter out. The case continued on the sole count of threatening or abusive behaviour.
The accused took the witness box to say that he was with his girlfriend on the night and that when he went outside the garda told him to go back indoors.
“I think Garda Doolan was more abusive to me,” he said. “He told my neighbour to f**k off back inside and arrested me for no reason…. There were a few people present, they heard Garda Doolan shouting at me.”
The witness said he had been frustrated at the man on the balcony above for breaking his window. He also claimed that he only drank four cans of beer.
During cross-examination by the State, the witness said he had discussed the matter of the window with the other man earlier in the day.
He claimed that all he, the witness, was doing was trying to get his door key back from the man.
At the conclusion of the case, Judge McCarthy said there was a huge conflict of evidence, and the State had not provided CCTV footage.
The judge dismissed the case.