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12 Aug 2022

Portlaoise man threatened gardaí with Covid-19

Portlaoise man threatened gardaí with Covid-19

A Portlaoise man threatened gardaí by telling them he had Covid-19, during a drunken and abusive incident in Mountrath in which he also called a female garda “a whore” and “a c*nt”.

At Portlaoise District Court, James McInerney (38), 86 Lake Drive, Kilminchy, Portlaoise, was charged with being intoxicated in a public place, and threatening or abusive behaviour, at New Line Close, Mountrath, on October 22, 2020.

Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on October 22 this year, the gardaí were investigating a matter when the accused became very aggressive, calling a garda “a whore” and “a c*nt”.

He also threatened them that he had the Covid-19 virus, and then took his shirt off and said he would fight any man.

“He gave a female officer awful abuse,” said Sgt Kirby.

The accused had 33 previous convictions and was on a suspended sentence at the time.

Defence, solicitor Mr Philip Meagher said the accused was very ashamed of his behaviour and had conceded his behaviour had been absolutely appalling.

Defence handed in a letter of apology, as well as pledge letter signed with a local priest within the last few weeks.

Mr Meagher said that the accused had his wife had seven children and there were a lot of difficulties with a couple of the children, particularly one girl. Matters came to a head on the day before the offence and the accused removed himself from the house and went drinking.

Remarked Judge Catherine Staines, “That's a great way to give his daughter the help she needs.”

Mr Meagher said the accused had no memory of what happened on the night such was his level of intoxication.

“He's extremely ashamed of what he said,” Mr Meagher said, going on to say that the accused is no longer drinking alcohol having made a commitment with a local priest.

“The court can appreciate what this means to members of the Travelling community,” said Mr Meagher.

Judge Staines said it was appalling behaviour to speak to a garda in this way and imposed one month in prison, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.

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