A Portarlington man who struck a garda in the face with his forearm when his car was being seized was last week given a suspended sentence.
“The gardaí have a very difficult job to do enforcing road traffic matters and they have to feel safe while doing that job and they have to be respected, and if they’re not respected there will be chaos,” said Judge Catherine Staines, in the case of John Harty, 6 Woodlands Park, Canal Road, Port. Harty was charged with assault at Well Road, Port, on November 8 last year.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that the defendant was stopped at a garda checkpoint and was found to have no tax or insurance on his vehicle. When the car was being seized he reacted badly, and when he was exiting the car he struck a garda in the face with his forearm. No damage was caused.
Harty had 14 previous convictions.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that Harty got quite agitated in the car when issues were raised over his documentation and he began slapping the steering wheel.
“He was out of sorts at the suggestion that his car would be taken. He got out and the discussion continued, he got more agitated and during an attempt to arrest him he raised an elbow. It was more a reckless act,” said Mr Meagher.
Sgt Kirby said he would accept that there was no malicious attempt to hurt the garda.
Imposing a four-month sentence, suspended for two years, the judge said the only reason Harty wasn’t going to prison was because Sgt Kirby had been very fair to him in evidence.