A Portlaoise man who was foaming at the mouth while threatening violence against a garda has been given a suspended prison sentence.
At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Kevin Keegan (35), 9 Parnell Crescent, Portlaoise, was charged with threatening or abusive behaviour.
Inspector Ollie Baker gave evidence that on July 9 last, at Portlaoise Garda Station, a garda was speaking to the accused when Keegan became abusive and aggressive and was foaming at the mouth.
He threatened violence against the garda, with members of the public and children present. He refused to desist and continued shouting obscenities at the garda, and had to be forcibly restrained during arrest.
The accused had 19 previous convictions, 13 for public order offences.
Defence, Mr Declan Breen said his client was very well known to the court in the 1990s and 00s, having had a serious addiction to heroin and a reputation for violence.
In 2005, he cleaned up his act by getting off heroin and is now married with six children.
On the day of the offence, he was asked to produce documents at Portlaoise Garda Station and an issue arose.
“It pushed buttons that had been latent for over ten years and the Kevin Keegan of old came back,” said Mr Breen.
Mr Breen said that his client had many drug and violence-related convictions and had battled since 2005 to get over his reputation.
He said that the accused had completed a number of courses, but he had difficulty getting employment because of his reputation.
Judge Catherine Staines directed the accused to write a full letter of apology to the garda he had threatened and the matter was put back to second calling.
When the case was recalled, Mr Breen said that the letter was very brief as his client had literacy difficulties and needed assistance.
Said Judge Staines: “Under no circumstances should the gardaí have to put up with this type of abuse, it merits a prison sentence.”
She noted that his last conviction had been 11 years ago and this latest offence seemed to be a one-off. Telling him that this sort of thing could not happen again, Judge Staines imposed a three-month sentence, suspended for one year.