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Man who chased gardai with a knife after he assaulted girlfriend receives partially suspended sentence

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A Dublin man who ran at gardaí with a knife after assaulting his girlfriend has received a partially suspended sentence.

Noel O'Doherty (28) punched his then girlfriend when she told his mother that she had cheated on him, as their group was returning from her 21st birthday celebrations.

Gardaí were called to the scene, where Dublin Fire Brigade officers were attending the young woman, when O'Doherty approached wielding a large kitchen knife in a threatening manner.

A member of the Garda Public Order Unit followed O'Doherty into his own home after a foot chase and found him sitting on his hands at the bottom of a narrow wardrobe in a bedroom.

O'Doherty, of Willow Wood Lawn, Hartstown, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and possessing a large kitchen knife with intent to cause injury to members of An Garda Síochana at Hartstown Road, Hartstown, on October 23, 2016.

Judge Gerard Griffin sentenced O'Doherty to two years imprisonment, but suspended the final six months provided he keep the peace and be of good behaviour and engage with probation services for a period of three years from today's date.

Garda Megan Furey said O'Doherty's ex-partner later revealed that she must have gone unconscious after he punched and kicked her because she next recalled waking up in hospital.

The garda told Antonio Boyle BL, prosecuting, that the woman had bruising to her face and was bleeding from her teeth and gums.

Gda Furey said she had been called to the scene on reports of a disturbance by a gang of youths beside a nearby petrol station. She said colleagues had retrieved another knife at the assault scene before encountering O'Doherty with a second knife.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, explained to Judge Griffin that his client claimed that three youths had “jumped on him” prior to the assault on his girlfriend.

One of these males had a knife, which ended up in O'Doherty's possession as he fought them off, counsel said.

Judge Griffin put it to Mr Spencer that one knife was dropped and O'Doherty came back with another. Mr Spencer agreed, saying O'Doherty was “very regretful” about this.

Counsel submitted that a lot of drink had been taken on the night, tempers frayed and there was a “flashpoint” when O'Doherty assaulted his then girlfriend. He asked the judge to take into account that his client had a young family and that he had settled his differences with his ex-girlfriend and her family.

Mr Spencer told the court that all parties had “buried the hatchet, excuse that unfortunate term”.

Judge Griffin said the aggravating factors in the case were the injuries caused by the assault, his 11 previous convictions, that he picked up a second knife after dropping another and that he refused to drop the knife when directed to do so by gardaí.

He said the mitigating factors were his guilty plea, his lack of recent convictions, his not having come to garda attention since the incident, his employment history and his expression of remorse.

Judge Griffin commended the father of the accused for allowing gardaí to enter the house and for informing them that there were children inside. He said that had he not done so an already bad situation might have turned out worse.

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