A DRIVER who crashed into a van before attempting to flee the scene told an off-duty garda who apprehended him that he was a “c–t” who ought to be shot.
The behaviour of a 29-year-old Killeshin man was described as “absolutely below par” by Judge Geraldine Carthy as she handed down a four-month prison sentence following a contested hearing at last week’s sitting of Carlow District Court. The defendant had contested a charge of dangerous driving, hit and run and threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at Kennedy Street, Carlow on 9 February last and two charges of failing to provide a breath and blood specimen at Carlow Garda Station on the same date.
An off-duty officer, Garda John Coughlin of Ballymun Garda Station, gave evidence that he had been out for a run when he saw the defendant’s Peugeot van go through a stop sign and collide with a VW Caddy on Kennedy Street. Garda Coughlin went over to the defendant in his van.
“I asked (the defendant) if was he alright and he said, ‘Yeah, why?’”
Garda Coughlin said he had experience of drugs in Ballymun and was suspicious that the defendant was under the influence of an intoxicant. He noted the defendant was “foaming at the mouth somewhat”.
Garda Coughlin said the defendant then “proceeded to drive at me”, as the van was stuck at a bollard on the footpath. Garda Coughlin asked a passerby to contact 999. The defendant continued to manoeuvre the car to get out and eventually got free, driving 20 to 30 metres, followed by Garda Coughlin. The defendant then got out of the car and ran towards Graiguecullen, chased by the garda. Garda Coughlin said he announced he was an off-duty garda three or four times. He caught the defendant, but after a struggle the defendant got free, running back up Castle Street, where the garda caught him again.
Garda Coughlin said the defendant made a number of threats to him at the scene.
“He said: ‘You are only a c–t, you are only scum … you ought to be shot,’” recounted the garda.
Investigating garda Conor Rafter gave evidence of attending the scene. The defendant was “highly intoxicated” and “highly abusive”, said the garda. The defendant’s reply to caution after being arrested was “f–k you”.
Garda Rafter said the defendant continued to resist arrest and was abusive to gardaí and members of the public.
Garda Rafter said the defendant was unable to provide a breath sample at the garda station. “It’s hard to know was he making an effort,” he said.
A doctor was then called to the station to take a blood specimen from the defendant. The court was told that while Garda Rafter escorted the defendant to the doctor’s room, the defendant said: “I am not giving a f–king sample.”
“He then squared up to me and the doctor. I was forced to restrain him and bring back into the cell.”.
After the conclusion of the state’s case, the defence made no application for dismissal or called evidence.
The court was told the defendant had seven previous convictions, which included road traffic and drug offences.
“He panicked on the night,” said Mr Farrell.
Judge Carthy imposed a two-month sentence and a four-year driving ban for failing to provide a sample. A two-month consecutive sentence was imposed on the public order offence. A two-month concurrent offence and a two-year driving ban was handed down on the dangerous driving charge. A hit-and-run offence and a second failing to produce charge were recorded as convictions and taken into consideration. An appeal was subsequently lodged.
Full report in this week’s paper