Friday, May 22, 2020

A CARLOW man who claimed to have placed a bomb at St Vincent’s Hospital was given an eight-month suspended sentence last week. Arkadiusz Pukownik (37) of Hanover Court, Kennedy Avenue pleaded guilty to making a threat to damage property at St Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin between 9 and 10 January 2019.

The court was told that the defendant rang 999 saying he had left an explosive device at the Dublin hospital, which turned out to be a hoax.

“He had gone up to the hospital earlier in the day, but his appointment had been cancelled,” said defending solicitor Joe Farrell. “It seems to have been quite clear during the call that it was a hoax.”

Mr Farrell said another person could be heard in the background of the call, saying ‘would you stop, Arkadiusz’.

“There was laughing; he was clearly intoxicated on the phone,” said the solicitor.

The defendant had also informed the 999 operator who he was and where he was.

The case had previously been adjourned for a probation report, which was presented to Judge Geraldine Carthy last Wednesday.

Mr Farrell described it as “quite positive”. He said his client had been grappling with mental health issues and argued that a custodial sentence was not appropriate.

Judge Carthy said there was no doubt that the offence was a serious matter, which resulted in a significant garda investigation.

“It no doubt caused that person on the phone extreme distress and anxiety in their role that day,” she said.

Judge Carthy noted in the probation report that the defendant did not believe he needed outside assistance for his alcohol use.

“Clearly, you do have an addiction,” she said.

Judge Carthy also noted that the defendant was a father of young children. “You should be a role model to them rather than placing prank phone calls, finding everything so funny you are laughing on the phone. I do not find it funny at all.”

Judge Carthy said she had considered a custodial sentence appropriate, but decided to impose an eight-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Mr Arkadiusz was ordered to engage with probation services during this period and to avail of all supports.

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