A WOMAN who bit a garda at Carlow courthouse was given a three-month prison sentence at Carlow District Court last week. Judge Geraldine Carthy described the behaviour of 52-year-old Ann O’Brien, Maryborough Street, Carlow as “out of control” as she passed down the sentence.
The defendant pleaded guilty to assault and threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at Carlow courthouse on 8 July last.
Sergeant Hud Kelly said Ms O’Brien was appearing in Carlow District Court and became abusive and aggressive, saying “f–k you” in the body of the court. “She tried to climb over a bench towards a garda,” he added.
Ms O’Brien was brought outside the courtroom, where she continued to be abusive towards members of the public.
The court was told she was being placed inside a garda van when she “bit down” on a garda’s arm. The garda quickly moved to pull his hand away and the skin was not broken. “He went to the GP and was prescribed antibiotics as a precautionary step,” said Sgt Kelly.
Ms O’Brien is currently serving a nine-month sentence for public order offences and appeared in court by video link.
While Ms O’Brien had entered a guilty plea, she was disruptive as evidence was given.
Defending solicitor John O’Sullivan told her: “Those remarks are not helpful to your case.”
Mr O’Sullivan appealed for any sentence to be rolled into his client’s current custody.
Judge Geraldine Carthy had been presiding in the district court when the incident happened. “No doubt about it, her behaviour was out of control,” she commented.
Judge Carthy said Ms O’Brien had to be restrained not by one garda, but by three members. The judge pointed out that even getting Ms O’Brien to be quiet during proceedings had been an effort.
Judge Carthy accepted the defendant had been in the throes of alcohol addiction, but admitted to being “shocked at the level of behaviour”.
“Biting an individual is quite serious; you are attempting to break the skin,” she stated.
Judge Carthy imposed a three-month prison sentence consecutive to the defendant’s current sentence.