JUDGE Cephas Power described the offending of a young Tullow man as “outrageous behaviour” while handing down a four-month prison sentence last week. The 18 year old had pleaded guilty to a host of charges, including assault, public order, arson and criminal damage.
The case had been adjourned until last week for a probation report, but Judge Power heard an outline of evidence from court presenter Sergeant Hud Kelly before sentencing.
On 6 July, gardaí were called to Lidl in Tullow following a report of a man with a knife. On arrival, they found the defendant, who was “extremely agitated” in the carpark. The defendant stuck up his middle finger at gardaí and acted in a threatening manner, shouting at gardaí. Gardaí were forced to use pepper spray to incapacitate the defendant, who was striking out.
On 14 June, the defendant entered Apache Pizza at The Square, Tullow. Having been told he was barred and would not be served, he spat in the face of the owner, while also smashing a window with his fist. The incident was captured on CCTV.
On 21 July 2021, the defendant, described as “very intoxicated”, entered Flynn’s Service Station in Tullow and threatened staff. When gardaí arrived at the scene, the defendant pushed them away and pulled off his shirt, resisting arrest.
On 3 July 2021, the defendant entered Hickson’s SuperValu with a friend and stole eight cans of beer. The defendant was a juvenile at the time, but was deemed unsuitable for the Juvenile Liaison Officer scheme.
On 27 May 2021, gardaí responded to a report of an assault at Tullow Town Park. Two youths had been using the skate park when they were approached by another group.
One of the youths received a punch to his head and had his shirt pulled. A second youth attempted to intervene, but was told to mind his own business. He was pushed and “kicked in the backside”. A chain worn by the injured party was also broken.
On 17 February 2021, gardaí encountered the defendant on a pitch at Tullow Community School. The defendant was intoxicated and aggressive to gardaí, saying he would “burn your f**king house”.
The defendant attempted to flee from the gardaí while the defendant’s friends struggled to manage him. Gardaí contacted the defendant’s mother for assistance who, along with friends, managed to get him home.
On 26 July 2020, the defendant was one of four youths seen running away from Tullowbeg, where bales of hay had been set on fire.
Defending solicitor Nichola Delaney said the facts “did not make for easy listening”. Ms Delaney said her client had spent the last three weeks in custody, which had been an eye-opening experience. “He has finally come to the realisation that if he continues his behaviour he will end up prison.”
Supported by his mother in court, Ms Delaney said her client had associated with a negative peer group and he had promised to remove himself from their company. Ms Delaney also cited her client’s unspecified health difficulties, which had also impacted his behaviour.
A letter of apology from the defendant and a letter from his mother were handed into court.
“He wishes to apologise to gardaí,” said Ms Delaney. “He does not want to be in prison; he acted stupidly and apologises to the victims of the crimes.”
The probation report indicated the defendant was at moderate risk of reoffending in the next 12 months.
After considering the collected reports and letters over lunch, Judge Power noted that even after engaging with the probation services he continued to be a “public nuisance”, committing assault and criminal damage.
However, Judge Power said he was impressed by the letter of apology and the support of his family. Judge Power ruled as outlined.
Judge Power imposed two consecutive two-month sentences for threatening/abusive/insulting behaviour at Tullow Community School and Flynn’s garage.
A four-month sentence was handed down for assault at Tullow Town Park, while a further six months was imposed for the Apache Pizza assault. These sentences were suspended for two years provided the defendant be of good behaviour.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal, which included a €200 cash lodgement and €400 independent surety. An appeal was lodged and the defendant was released from custody.
Full details in this week’s paper