'Blaggard' punched man in Portlaoise court before row spilled out on to street


'Blaggard' punched man in Portlaoise court before row spilled out on to street

A Portlaoise man who was part of a violent disturbance that spilled out of the courthouse on to Portlaoise Main Street has been told he may get a suspended sentence on condition he abstains from drugs.

Before Portlaoise Circuit Court was Jason Brophy, 23, of Clonroosk View, Portlaoise, charged with violent disorder.

Detective Garda Conor Egan gave evidence, along with State barrister, Mr Will Fennelly, that on May 11, 2017, there was a disturbance in the lobby of Portlaoise Courthouse, with the accused one of the parties involved.

He struck another man, who subsequently had to be restrained by gardaí. The disturbance, which involved a number of people, spilled out onto Main Street, but Brophy remained contained within the confines of the court.

Four people were arrested in the incident, although the accused was not one of them.

When he was later arrested he told gardaí that a fight had broken out and he got involved. He disputed that he had thrown the first punch, but CCTV footage clearly showed he had.

Det Egan said that both the accused and the other man were boxers and the accused accepted he shouldn’t have been engaging in such conduct.

The accused had 18 previous convictions and came to garda attention since the incident, acquiring a number of convictions.

Defence, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said the accused’s drug taking over the years was one of the causes of his criminal behaviour.

She said that the accused had been sitting in the foyer of the courthouse when a fight rolled out of the doors. He approached the other man and landed a punch on hin, which led to a scuffle between them. The other man and two others were escorted outside, with up to five gardaí involved and pepper spray used, but the accused never left the courthouse.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that the accused was a former boxer who had abused his body with drugs, but he had since completed residential treatment.

Ms Fitzpatrick asked the court to allow him to engage with his next stage of treatment.

“He comes into the courthouse and acts the blaggard. How is the system to stand up if he behaves like this?” asked Judge Keenan Johnson.

Judge Johnson imposed a sentence of two years and six months, but said he may suspend this for ten years on condition the accused abstain from drugs.

The matter was adjourned to June 19, with the accused entering into a peace bond to keep the peace and remain drug free until then.