A Laois woman who kicked a garda in the eye after her car was seized and was found to have a blade and pepper spray on her person has had a prison sentence suspended on appeal at Portlaoise Circuit Court.
Before the court was Lisa Nevin, appealing a five month prison sentence she was given in the district court.
State solicitor, Mr Donal Dunne said that on April 26, 2017, the appellant was stopped driving at a garda checkpoint where it was noticed that her tax had expired and her vehicle had no insurance disc. She also gave a false name to the gardaí.
She was told that the vehicle would be detained and she refused to exit it, and became abusive and aggressive.
She sat on the ground shouting and had to be lifted by the gardaí and when she was put in the patrol car she refused to sit down.
She then bent her legs in the garda car and kicked Detective Garda Padraic Ryan in the right eye, causing an injury to his eye.
She continued to be uncooperative at the garda station, where she was searched and found to have on her a stanley blade and pepper spray.
Nevin had 20 previous convictions. At Portlaoise District Court on March 22 this year, she was given five months for the assault on the garda.
Appealing this sentence at the circuit court, barrister, Mr Rory Hanniffy said that his client had tragically lost her husband in 2015 in violent circumstances which had very much blighted her life since then.
Mr Hanniffy said the appellant had been driving herself to the psychiatric unit at the time and was medicated, do she did not recall all of the incident.
Regarding the objects found on her, defence said that Nevin had been in fear since the passing of her husband and on one occasion when she was visiting her husband’s grave an individual attempted to enter her vehicle.
Mr Hanniffy concluded by saying the appellant had €500 compensation to offer.
Judge Keenan Johnson said it was a serious charge to attack a garda in the course of his duty and photos of the garda’s injuries showed a mark to his eye.
However, he said there was a considerable mitigating backdrop and testimonials handed into court indicated this behaviour was out of character for the appellant.
Ruling that the prison sentence was appropriate as it is important that the gardaí not be subjected to this type of abuse, Judge Johnson increased the prison sentence for assault to eight months and suspended it for seven years on condition the appellant enter into a peace bond for seven years.
He also directed that the €500 compensation go to Detective Ryan.