A thirty-three year old father of two who assaulted a garda in front of his five and three year old children was imprisoned for three months by Judge Mary Devins at last weeks sitting of Westport District Court.
Michael Heraty of Carrowhall, Westport was involved in an altercation with two gardai after they were called to a dispute between the couple who were arguing in a car with their children at 3.55pm on July 7 last at Mill Street, Westport.
Mr Heraty had been drinking since 11am in a nearby hotel and was in an intoxicated state. When he got in to the car in the presence of his two young children a row erupted with his wife who then called the gardai.
Garda Siobhán McGowan of Westport Garda Station went to the scene and when she arrived she found that Mr Heraty was in a very volatile and a “very agitated state”.
Garda McGowan asked him to step out of the car but he refused and became very abusive calling her “a f*cking b*tch and saying she would never catch him driving the car.
Shortly afterwards Garda Seamus Kelly arrived at the scene and witnessed Mr Heraty, who was behaving very aggressively and shouting at Garda McGowan outside the car. Garda Kelly said he tried to calm Mr Heraty down but he told him to “f*ck off”.
Moments later Mr Heraty “saw red” and resisted arrest violently. He subsequently grabbed Garda Kelly in a headlock and a struggle ensued with both Garda Kelly and Garda McGowan falling to the ground during the incident.
Pepper spray was used to refrain Mr Heraty until more gardai arrived and he was then handcuffed, arrested and brought to Westport Garda Station.
Solicitor Aidan Crowley said the defendant was very sorry for his actions and accepted his behaviour was completely out of order. The court heard he was experiencing serious marital difficulties at the time.
Mr Heraty had been the successful operator of a good painting and decorating business which employed in excess of 30 people but the economic crash had decimated his business and since then he has begun drinking heavily.
He was also suffering from depression and on the day in question he had consumed more than seven or eight pints of guinness with his prescribed antidepressant medication.
Mr Heraty said he had refused to move away from the car because his young son had moved to the front of the vehicle unsupervised. He said he become agitated and aggressive because he did not want to be arrested in front of his children. He said he was an alcoholic but he had not drank alcohol for over a month and was making an effort to get his life in order.
Judge Mary Devins said she felt sorry for his children stating that “those memories will be there with them forever”. She convicted him and sentenced him to three months imprisonment for the assault on Garda Kelly, fining him €500.
Michael Heraty was also convicted for a separate incident on May 20 where gardai were called to a domestic dispute at the Paddock, Westport. This was also said to have arisen due to ‘serious marital difficulties’ and for his actions on this date Mr Heraty was sentenced to a further three months imprisonment concurrent and fined a further €500.