A DISTRICT court judge has jailed a man for kicking out and headbutting a garda, saying she will not condone anyone assaulting members of the gardaí who are trying to go about their business of protecting the public.
Judge Mary Larkin was speaking at Thursday's sitting of Listowel District Court where she heard that a 29-year old local man - with 28 previous convictions - had to be restrained with pepper spray after assaulting a male garda as he tried to arrest him and get him into the squad car.
Terence O'Brien of Upper Clieveragh, Listowel, was sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting Garda Crowley at William Street on St Stephen's night after the judge said she would not condone anyone striking a member of the gardaí.
The court was told that the defendant called the garda in question a wanker and, as he was being placed in the patrol car, he sprayed the gardaí with water that he found in the back of the car.
Superintendent Michael Fitzpatrick told the court that while in the rear of the car, Mr O'Brien kept nudging back his head towards the garda's head and was using his feet to push himself back and eventually connected with Garda Crowley's nose. The garda eventually has to use pepper spray to subdue him.
Solicitor Pat Enright outlined in detail a number of traumatic, personal incidents that the man had experienced in the run up to the event, which had led him to drink and behave the way he did.
He said Mr O'Brien later apologised to the garda and was attempting to turn over a new leaf.
The judge said that while she appreciated and sympathised with his personal situation as outlined in court, she said she would not condone anyone assaulting a member of the gardaí and imposed a three month jail sentence.
She also fixed recognisance in the event of an appeal on the defendant's own bond of €200.