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Westport man fled to Australia after assault on female garda


A WESTPORT man who fled to Australia after he kicked a female garda in the chest in 2008 has received a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Alan Kay of Carrabaun, Westport, appeared before last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court, where he was sentenced for assaulting a teenager outside a fast-food restaurant and assaulting Garda Siobhán Clancy, who was arresting him in connection with the assault on the teen.
The 26-year-old was due to be sentenced for the offences in 2011, but he fled to Australia, only returning to Ireland late last year.
Detective Sergeant Pat Lavelle told the court he met Mr Kay by arrangement on February 16, 2017, and arrested him on foot of a bench warrant.
Judge Rory McCabe was informed that on September 11, 2008, Garda Clancy was called to investigate an assault on a teenager near a fast-food restaurant in Westport, at 12.20am. The teenager, who was 15 at the time, was left with a bloody nose.
Alan Kay was identified as the culprit on CCTV, and he was later found near the playground off James Street in the town. He was agitated at the time and denied responsibility and struggled as Garda Clancy and her colleague, Garda Jim Corrigan, attempted to arrest him.
He was eventually placed in the back of the patrol car. He tried to open the car door, however, and had to be restrained by Garda Jim Corrigan.
Garda Clancy, who was driving, stopped the car and went to assist her colleague, but as she did, Mr Kay swivelled in the back seat and kicked her in the chest, ribs and face with his two feet.
Detective Sgt Lavelle said that Kay was abusive to Garda Clancy and told her he hoped she died. He explained that Garda Clancy received injuries during the attack and was off work for five weeks.
When Mr Kay was later questioned about the events on the night, he admitted to the assault on the teenager but denied the assault on Garda Clancy.
When he came before Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court in February 2011, he pleaded guilty to the two offences, but he travelled to Australia before sentencing and remained there for five years.
Det Sgt Lavelle said Mr Kay has a number of previous convictions but has not come to the attention of the Gardaí since returning home.
Mr Eoin Garavan, counsel for Mr Kay said his client had consumed a bottle of vodka on the night and had no recollection of the incident involving Garda Clancy. He said Kay, who was 17 at the time of the incident, was making a mess of his life when he decided to go to Australia.
He explained his client worked in Perth painting ships and only came back because a friend was dying. He added that when at home, Kay decided to face his demons and co-operate with the gardaí.
Mr Garavan said that although Mr Kay has remained in Westport since returning to Ireland, he does not intend to stay in the country once the matter is finalised.
Judge McCabe described the incident as ‘shocking’ and would normally merit an immediate custodial sentence. However, he added he did not believe it would be in the best interest of justice to send Mr Kay to jail. Instead, he imposed a two-year sentence for each charge, to be suspended for a period of five years.

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