A Portlaoise man given a six-month sentence for handling stolen property tried to evade justice by racing from the courtroom last Thursday pursued by gardaí.
A garda was injured in the resultant chase after Jason Brophy (23), 24 Clonroosk View, Portlaoise, tried to escape by runing out of the court onto Main Street.
Brophy was facing charges of drug possession at his home on July 25 this year; possession of stolen property, namely a caravan, at his home on May 16, 2017; possession of a knife, at Lyster Square, Portlaoise; threatening or abusive behaviour, at Ballyroan on June 4, 2017; and handling stolen property, namely tools and equestrian equipment, at Borris Great, Portlaoise, on November 23, 2017.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said the matter of the tools and equestrian equipment had been adjourned for a probation report and for her client to pay compensation.
She said he had €290 in court for the victim.
Judge Catherine Staines noted that the matter came before the court last November and after a number of adjournments the accused entered a guilty plea and the matter was adjourned for a probation report.
While on probation he came before the court for handling stolen property, namely a caravan, and the court was informed he had a drug problem so this matter was also adjourned for a probation report.
The accused then went out and stole tools and equestrian equipment, said Judge Staines.
In relation to this, Judge Staines read out a victim impact statement from the injured party which said he had lost out on two days work and was down financially because of the burglary.
He said his wife and children are still afraid to go out into the yard at night, especially after seeing CCTV footage which showed one of the robbers waving a pitchfork around.
Judge Staines said that she had adjourned this matter for a probation report and compensation, and then the accused had been caught with cannabis.
The judge said the accused was stealing to fund his drug habit, and she had to impose a sentence.
She imposed six months in prison, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.
She also directed that the victim of the burglary be given €1,000 from the court poor box.
As the case was being concluded, the accused suddenly turned and ran from the courtroom. He was pursued by a number of gardaí and brought back into the court building following a struggle, during which it is understood that at least one garda was injured.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with assault causing harm. The matter was adjourned to December 6, with the accused granted bail.