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Garda assaulted after chasing Westport tractor driver

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Defendant told gardaí ‘you’re not taking my baby’

A Westport man appeared in court after refusing to stop his tractor for gardaí and eventually assaulting a garda.
Patrick Geraghty (35) of Balloor West, Ayle, Westport appeared before Castlebar District Court on Wednesday last where he pleaded guilty to assaulting a garda, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and driving with no insurance.
The court was told that on the night of September 10, 2014 Garda Michael Mullaney and Garda Peter Flanagan were on duty when they met a JCB Fastrac tractor at the Ayle crossroads on the main Westport to Ballinrobe road. They said the manner of driving was a concern to them and they activated their blue lights. The court was told Mr Geraghty looked in the rear view mirror to see them. He was driving at 77kmh at one stage and took a corner at Mahanagh, Westport on the opposite side of the road, despite a continuous white line in the centre of the road.
He subsequently drove down a narrow laneway and gardaí were worried he was going to drive into a field. Mr Geraghty then put on the plough lights at the rear of the tractor and gardaí said they were blinded by this.
Garda Mullaney, fearful that Geraghty would reverse into them, got out of the car and went and took the keys from the tractor. He said Geraghty ‘became very aggressive’ and told him ‘you’re not taking my baby’.
He refused to leave the tractor and then began to rip his t-shirt and became bare-chested. He subsequently pushed Garda Mullaney, who needed to use his pepper spray and baton to subdue Geraghty.
Defending solicitor Gary Mulchrone said his client works solely on his elderly parents’ farm and is the primary carer for them. Mr Mulchrone said his client’s behaviour was hard to justify and said all he could argue was that Geraghty felt something belonging to him was being taken and he was acting to protect it.
He added that his client has lived ‘something of a sheltered life’ and does not ‘fully understand the laws of the land’. He asked Judge James Faughan not to impose a jail sentence as his parents would suffer the most.
Judge Faughan said he was not finalising the case on the day and that if he was, it would include a jail sentence.
Judge Faughan adjourned the sentencing until April 6 and ordered the preparation of a Probation Report and a Community Service assessment.