'Appalling attack' on off-duty garda in Mountrath

Three Laois men sentenced for assault causing harm

Court - Smashed garda patrol car outside Portlaoise courthouse

Three Laois men have been sentenced for an “appalling attack” on an off-duty garda in Mountrath, which left the garda off work for a month with injuries including black eyes and a fractured rib.

Peter Fleming (26), Churchfield Heights, Castletown; Codie Doheny (19), Kiln Lane, Mountrath; and Gavin Doheny (21), Kilbricken, Mountrath, all pleaded guilty at Portlaoise Circuit Court to one count of assault causing harm, at Market Square, Mountrath, on July 11, 2016.

There is also a juvenile in the case, who has been dealt with by the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Sgt Jason Hughes gave evidence, that the injured party, an off-duty garda, had been going between a local pub and the bookies when he encountered a group of males and there was an exchange of words. Around 20 minutes later, there was another exchange of words which escalated into an argument.

Gavin Doheny threw a milkshake at the garda, followed by a punch to the head, before all four males attacked him with punches and kicks and he was knocked to the ground.

Sgt Hughes said the garda received a number of punches and kicks to the head and body, both while he was standing up and while on the ground.

Among the injuries sustained were a fractured rib, wounds to the side of the nose and cheek area, injuries to the temple area, and both knees were badly grazed. He was out of work for one month.

Gavin Doheny had four previous convictions, Codie Doheny had none. Peter Fleming had 56 previous convictions, and is currently serving a sentence on other matters.

Defence for Fleming, Mr Simon McDonald said that the accused is suitable for drug treatment and has applied for residential treatment when he's released from prison.

In sentencing, Judge Johnson said that whether or not the three accused had known the injured party was a garda, it was an appalling attack, but had the injured party been in uniform then the court would have treated the matter even more seriously.

In the matter of Peter Fleming, the accused was sentenced to three years in prison, with the final two years suspended, on condition he enter a peace bond of €500; he remain drug free; he remain under probation supervision for 18 months post release and submit for residential treatment for his addiction issues; and he fully comply with Merchants Quay.

The sentence was backdated to December last, the date Fleming went into custody.

In the case of Gavin Doheny, Judge Johnson said the assault seemed to be out of character for him. His case was adjourned to November 28, on condition he enter a peace bond until then, and pay €4,000 compensation. If paid, the judge said he would impose 240 hours' community service in lieu of two years in prison.

In the case of Codie Doheny, Judge Johnson said the accused was the least culpable of the three, and adjourned the case to November 28, on condition he enter a peace bond, and pay €1,000 compensation. If paid, the judge said he would impose 240 hours' community service.

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