Man jailed after garda's jaw broken in attack over drugs
A garda sergeant who suffered a broken jaw and other serious injuries when savagely attacked by a drug dealer made a brave effort to preserve evidence during the onslaught, a judge said.
Patrick Irwin (31), a major crime figure in the north-west, launched a 20-minute attack on Sergeant Brian Lee (46) in May 2010 when he was on High Court bail for possessing €67,000 worth of cocaine for sale.
He was later sentenced to seven years for the offence.
At Sligo Circuit Court yesterday Irwin was given another three years, which he will serve consecutively, when he admitted assault causing harm to Sgt Lee at Rathrippon, Collooney, Co Sligo, on May 29, 2010.
The court heard that Irwin, a father of three by three women, was driving at between 70 and 75mph with his son in the car at 7am when he was stopped by Sgt Lee.
The accused attacked Sgt Lee after the garda searched the car and found a large amount of cash and plastic wrapping with powder inside.
Sgt Lee suffered a broken jaw, lost a filling from a tooth, and received multiple abrasions to his head, body and legs.
He also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, which is recognised as an illness and it was caused by the assault. The court heard the wrapping of powder was lost in the assault by jobless Irwin but €1,550 and two mobile phones in the car were recovered.
The judge said: "What was this man doing with several mobile phones and cash concealed in the car?"
He noted that Irwin, of St Joseph's Terrace Sligo, had a long criminal record including burglary, criminal damage, misuse of drugs and the latest drugs offence for which he was serving seven years.
Detective Sgt Con Lee, no relation to the victim, told the court earlier that Irwin kept trying to snatch the package from Sgt Lee's hand and repeatedly thumped him.
The confrontation lasted 20 minutes with Sgt Lee being wrestled and pushed through some hedging.
He threw the package and the money through a fence but Irwin, believing the sergeant still had the package, kept on punching the garda.
In separate proceedings, taken by the Criminal Assets Bureau, the High Court was told that Irwin was a member of one of the country's most high-profile criminal gangs.
In 2010, a former girlfriend of Irwin who has a child by him, was jailed for five years for transporting a gun that gardai believe was intended to be delivered to him.