Man acquitted of sending threatening texts to gardai
A MAN was acquitted of sending threatening and abusive texts to two gardai after a judge ruled that the State failed to prove the origin of the calls.
Kevin O'Keeffe (38) was acquitted of four counts of making threatening contacts to two gardai, one of whom said it was instrumental in him taking early retirement.
The acquittal came despite Fermoy District Court being told that in an initial garda statement, O'Keeffe admitted to having made the texts in 2010 out of "a grudge" against the gardai.
O'Keeffe of Lower Boherbue, Mallow, Cork, who has 112 previous convictions, was convicted of stealing €40 phone credit from his elderly neighbour.
He received a three-month suspended prison sentence.
Judge Tim Lucey was told that O'Keeffe had stolen phone credit from Cornelius Vaughan (72) using a special telecommunications 'buddy' system.
The State alleged O'Keeffe used this credit to issue threatening texts to Det Gda John Gaine and Gda Andy McCarthy.
They included various offensive references including 'tramps,' 'pigs' and 'knackers'. One text warned: "I will shoot you tramps dead. Pigs, you will be shot. Watch your backs."
Det Gda Gaine, now retired, received one text message warning: "We are a notorious gang of criminals. We have guns to shoot you. We know where you live." The officer, who was based in Limerick in November 2010 at the height of the city's gangland feud, said he took the threats very seriously.
O'Keeffe, in a statement to gardai read out in court, said he had a grievance after he was questioned in 2008 about a matter in which he had no involvement.
Judge Lucey dismissed the four charges. The three-month sentence was suspended on condition O'Keeffe, who is unemployed, be of good behaviour for a year.