A RECOVERING alcoholic who attacked a neighbour in his own home was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment at last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court.
Vincent Joyce of Doonamona, Clogher, Claremorris pleaded guilty to assaulting his neighbour James McGrath on May 27, 2015, and to trespassing on his property on the same date.
Mr Joyce was also convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour in the Welcome Inn Hotel in Castlebar on February 25, 2014, and in Mulroy’s Bar in Castlebar on September 14, 2015.
The court heard that Mr Joyce is a recovering alcoholic who said that though he got into trouble whenever he drank, he has been alcohol free for the past two years.
Inspector Gary Walsh explained that on May 27, 2015, Mr Joyce called to the home of James McGrath in an intoxicated state at 6.50pm and was verbally abusive. He said the gardaí were called and Mr McGrath went into his home but the defendant followed him. He grabbed Mr McGrath around the neck and punched him.
The court heard that the victim attempted to escape but was unsuccessful and was hit with punches. Mr Joyce also attempted to hit him with a chair.
Mr Joyce was arrested at the scene and the court heard that Mr McGrath was very traumatised at the time.
Insp Walsh added that on September 14 at 4.30pm, Mr Joyce entered Mulroy’s Pub and was asked to leave, as he was intoxicated. He became abusive to staff and picked up a pint glass and threw it before leaving. He also kicked the door of the pub when leaving before being arrested.
Mr Joyce appeared before Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court in June, where he received 100 hours community service which the court heard he had almost completed. He told Judge Mary Devins that he knew he had committed a serious offence but that he was trying to change his ways and had been alcohol free for two years.
His solicitor, Nicola Daly said he has also completed anger-management courses and was now under the supervision of the probation service, which he found to be helpful and useful. She said alcohol was always his downfall.
When Judge Devins asked how she could believe he was alcohol free without any urinalysis reports, Probation Officer Miriam Tallon said that when people like Mr Joyce start drinking, it is only a matter of time before there is an incident and there had been no evidence of erratic behaviour to date.
Ms Daly said the probation report illustrated that Mr Joyce was taking the matter seriously and was on the road to recovery.
Judge Devins imposed a three-month prison sentence for the assault on Mr McGrath along with the charge of trespassing and the public order incident in the Welcome Inn. She added that she had reluctantly decided to take the public order offences in Mulroy’s into consideration.
Mr Joyce was also fined €450 and ordered to pay compensation to Mr McGrath.