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Garda faces sentence for attacking two female colleagues in drunken fight

A DUBLIN-BASED probationary Garda is to be sentenced next month for attacking two female colleagues who intervened when a drunken "mess" fight got out of hand.

Michael Crowley (27), who is from Blarney, Co Cork, but is attached to Crumlin garda station, had pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court in June to assaulting colleagues and former house-mates, Anne Marie Hennessy and Gillian McNulty, during an off-duty incident, on February 15, 2011.

Sentencing had been deferred for an assessment to be carried out on whether he has any alcohol or anger-management problems.

The case was listed again today before Judge Aeneas McCarthy. However, defence solicitor Dara Robinson said the matter was for the attention of Judge Bridget Reilly, who had heard the evidence previously. Judge McCarthy adjourned sentencing to October 10 next.

During the hearing on June 18 last, Garda Inspector Mel Smyth had said Crowley had been returning to his rented home in Lucan in Dublin, with a friend after a night out, and both were intoxicated.

“Initially they seemed to be getting on well, they started mess fighting which turned a bit serious,” Gda Inspector Smyth had told Judge Reilly.

It started to get noisy and the women came out to see what was happening. Crowley became aggressive as Gda Hennessy took up position between him and the other man, “to prevent a serious altercation taking place”.

Crowley pushed her to the ground and Gda McNulty then stepped in.

“He grabbed her by the neck and throat area with one hand and by the hair with his right hand,” Gda Inspector Smyth had also told the court.

A witness went inside to dial 999 and the situation calmed down when gardai arrived.

Inspector Smyth had agreed with defence solicitor Dara Robinson that Crowley had no prior criminal convictions and is a probationer garda. He also agreed that Crowley came from a respectable family and before joining the force had attained a certificate in mechanical engineering.

Gda Hennessy, who was knocked to the ground, sustained no injuries and Gda McNulty “suffered a loss of breath” after the attack.

Mr Robinson had said there had never been any previous incidents when he shared a house with the two women and Crowley could give no explanation as to why he turned on them. The following day, he packed his bags and moved out, the defence lawyer had also said.

The court has heard that a witness who had socialised with him previously had never seen him act like that and Mr Robinson had also said the case could have consequences for Crowley's future in An Garda Siochana.