A man who found himself in an altercation after watching the All-Ireland final last year had to be restrained by Gardaí using pepper spray after he told them he was a boxer and ‘will take take the lot of yee’.
Bernard McDonagh of 63 Lakeview, Castlebar, had been drinking in two Westport pubs all day on September 18 2011, and told the court that he didn’t strike anyone, and what happened was that he ‘came back from the jacks and was clattered in the face’.
The defendant had been given a suspended sentence in April last year by Judge Mary Devins, and facing certain prison time for having re-offended, asked the Judge to give him community service and a fine in lieu of a prison term.
Inspector Joe McKenna, representing the DPP, reminded Mr McDonagh that he had given certain undertakings in Westport District Court in April 2011, to which he replied he couldn’t remember doing so.
“Surely you remember getting a suspended sentence less than a year-and-a-half ago,” Inspector McKenna asked him, only to hear back: “I got a few boxes in the head since then and I can’t remember.”
Inspector McKenna informed the court that the defendant had been on Mill Street, in an intoxicated state, with blood on his face and his shirt off, when Gardaí arrested him shortly after 7pm on September 18 2011. He was shouting loudly and wanted to fight the Gardaí. The manager of the pub where he had been socialising informed Gardaí that the defendant and other members of the travelling community had started fighting with each other.
The court also heard that prior to being restrained with pepper spray in Westport Garda Station, Mr McDonagh had tried to escape from custody. The defendant has seven previous convictions, for criminal damage, public order, driving offences and theft.
The suspended sentence in April of last year had been imposed by Judge Devins following a conviction on a criminal damage charge. Having initially activated this sentence for the previous offence and imposing a one month consecutive sentence for the offence in September (four months imprisonment in total), Judge Devins later informed the court that there was a legal issue with this, as the earlier sentence was handed down more than 12 months ago – the period for which it had been suspended. She let her discontent at the delay in bringing prosecutions known, saying it is ‘against the ethos of the District Court’.
Bernard McDonagh was sentenced to three months imprisonment for the public order offence on September 18 2011 and fined €500. Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.