A CARLOW man who shouted ‘pigs’ at gardaí from a passing car received a two-month suspended sentence last week.
Kevin Doyle, New Oak Estate, Carlow had contested a Section 6 public order charge of threatening/abusive/insulting behaviour on 14 November 2019.
The defence had argued at a sitting of Carlow District Court that the remarks did not constitute a Section 6 charge as there had been no evidence of a breach of the peace.
However, the defendant’s remark ‘do your worst’ to Detective Garda Robert Rasmussen when he subsequently stopped his car satisfied that a breach had occurred and he was convicted.
At the outset of the case, Detective Rasmussen gave evidence that he was on patrol at Haddens car park at 10.50pm with another garda dealing with an incident.
At the same time, a white BMW being driven by Kevin Doyle was turning around in Potato Market.
The court was told that the defendant beeped the horn and he and male passenger shouted ‘pigs’ at the gardaí through a front window.
Detective Rasmussen got into the patrol car and stopped Mr Doyle’s vehicle on Dublin Street. He asked the defendant why he called him a pig and indicated he would be issuing a summons.
Det Rasmussen said: “(Mr Doyle) said ‘do your worst’.”
Det Rasmussen added that about 15 to 20 people were in the area when the defendant shouted pigs.
In cross-examination, defending solicitor Chris Hogan said gardaí had carried out a “hard stop” on his client’s vehicle.
Asked how could he be sure that it was Mr Doyle who shouted it, Det Rasmussen said the beeping had drawn his attention.
At the conclusion of the state’s case, defending solicitor Chris Hogan sought a dismissal claiming his client “had no case to answer”.
Mr Hogan accepted calling a garda a pig was offensive. However, he argued a fundamental part of prosecuting a Section 6 threatening/abusive/insulting behaviour charge was that there was a breach of the peace and no evidence of this was given.
Mr Hogan accepted there was evidence to prosecute a lesser charge of Section 5, engaging in offensive conduct in a public place, but not Section 6.
Judge Geraldine Carthy dismissed the application, satisfied that the utterance ‘do your worst’ was a breach of the peace.
The defence did not go into evidence and Mr Doyle was convicted.
The defendant had 24 previous convictions, including eight for public order offences.
Mr Hogan said the charge before the court was at the lower end of the scale of Section 6.
Mr Doyle was described as “pro-social” who had interest in fishing.
Judge Carthy said the defendant’s behaviour on the night could not be condoned and imposed a two-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Mr Doyle was ordered to engage with all supports offered by the probation services, in particular anger management.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.