Portlaoise man removed from court after saying people are being jailed for being heroin addicts

Ryan Dunne


Ryan Dunne

Portlaoise courthouse

A Portlaoise man appealing a criminal conviction at the circuit court had to be removed from the courtroom after angrily claiming that people were being given prison sentences just for being heroin addicts.

John Kelly (33), 69 Hillview Drive, Portlaoise, was appealing a two-month prison sentence imposed on him for a disturbance in the Midlands Hospital, Portlaoise.

Defence barrister, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick, said that the matter had previously been adjourned for her client to pay compensation to the Friends of Portlaoise Hospital, but he had no money in court.

The court also heard that since the last adjournment Kelly had been convicted of selling drugs to undercover gardaí.

Judge Keenan Johnson, referencing a probation report on the accused, noted that Kelly had failed to attend for three appointments with the probation service.

Judge Johnson said that this case had previously been adjourned on strict bail conditions and the accused had then gone out and reoffended.

At this point, Kelly became agitated and produced a page ripped out of a national newspaper, saying to Judge Johnson: “Here’s a rapist who raped his stepdaughter and he got two years, and you give us prison sentences for being heroin addicts.”

Judge Johnson ordered that the accused be removed from the courtroom and Kelly was led out by gardaí shouting “f**k you” at the judge.

Judge Johnson struck out the appeal and affirmed the district court order of two months in prison.