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Assault on Gardaí described as ‘totally inexcusable’ by judge

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Assault on Gardaí described as ‘totally inexcusable’ by judge


A man with 45 previous convictions including assault and theft, was described as being ‘out of control’ and having ‘problems with violence’ at Castlebar District Court last week.
The court heard on Tuesday last that Owen McDonagh of 27 Castlegrove, Castlebar was arrested by Gardaí on October 8, 2011, after Thomas McDonagh informed them he was assaulted by a knife-wielding Owen McDonagh.
Superintendent Joe Doherty told the court that Mr McDonagh was ‘very aggressive toward the three arresting Gardaí’ and even attempted to head-butt them when he was arrested at Woodlawns, Balla.
Supt Doherty also told the court that as the Gardaí were in fear for their own safety they sprayed Mr McDonagh with pepper spray and forcibly placed him in the Garda car.
The court heard that McDonagh continued to violently struggle with the Gardaí and spat blood in one of the Garda’s face three times, kicked all three, and bit one of them on the elbow.
Solicitor for the defendant, Lynda Lenihan told the court that her client accepted he was ‘out of control’ and had ‘way too much to drink’.
Ms Lenihan said Mr McDonagh knows he will have to deal with his alcohol problem and appealed to Judge McLoughlin to allow her client to enter a rehabilitation clinic.
Judge McLoughlin reminded the defending solicitor that the incident happened ‘over one calendar year ago’ and that if Mr McDonagh wanted to show the court he had tried to help himself, he could have entered a residential home and produced proof of his efforts to the court.
Judge McLoughlin noted that for a 25 year old, Mr McDonagh had a ‘serious amount of convictions’, and said that the way he assaulted the Gardaí was ‘inexcusable’ and deserved a prison term.
Owen McDonagh was handed four 11 week imprisonments for the assault of each Garda and the assault of Thomas McDonagh. The charges will run concurrently, resulting in Mr McDonagh serving 11 weeks in total.
In Castlebar District Court on Friday last, McDonagh also appeared in relation to not completing a community service order and alleged assault of a Garda.
Tracy Kelly from the Probation Services told the court that McDonagh had been sentenced to 100 hours community service in May, 2011 but had only completed 36 hours. A number of sick certs were handed in to the Probation Services at various stages since while McDonagh also served a seven month prison sentence in that time.
Judge McLoughlin revoked the community service order and sentenced McDonagh to three months in prison. However that will run concurrent to the eleven weeks he was sentenced to earlier that week, essentially one week extra in prison.
Inspector Paul Cuttle told the court of the incident of assault on Garda Andrew O’Hara. On January 3 last Gardai responded from a call by Ann Josephine McDonagh, alleging that her husband was assaulting her.
He said when they arrived Owen Gerard McDonagh called them ‘pigs’ and told them to leave. He said he ‘would get something that will put ye out of the house’. He was eventually arrested and continued to act violently, attempting to kick Garda O’Hara and attempting to spit at Gardai.
Gary Mulchrone, solicitor for McDonagh, said his client had consumed a lot of alcohol and while he didn’t remember the incident, he called to the Gardai to apologise the next day. He said that since last May McDonagh had behaved himself and was trying to ‘clean up his act’.
Judge McLoughlin sentenced him to three months in prison, running concurrent to the other sentences.
At the previous Wednesday’s court Ann Josephine McDonagh said she was withdrawing her charge of assault against her husband from the January 3 incident as she felt her husband had ‘quietened down’ since. However she also said that she wanted a safety order against her husband. Inspector Paul Cuttle asked how could these two statements be compatible and said that a garda was assaulted when coming to Ms McDonagh’s assistance.
Judge Denis McLoughlin asked Ms McDonagh what did she think would happen the next time she rang the Gardai. She said: ‘I’m hoping there won’t be a next time’.