Sunday 19 May 2019

'Menace to society' who threatened to headbutt garda while being driven to prison receives suspended sentence

15/05/19 Peter Ward (33), of Hazelcroft Gardens, Finglas, leaving court after the case. PIC: Collins Courts
15/05/19 Peter Ward (33), of Hazelcroft Gardens, Finglas, leaving court after the case. PIC: Collins Courts

Sonya McLean

A “menace to society” who threatened to headbutt a garda while he was being driven to prison has been given a two and half year suspended sentence.

Gardaí had discovered €60 worth of cannabis in Peter Ward's Dublin home and became aware that there was a warrant for his arrest because of his failure to pay a €500 fine.

Detective Garda Michael Parry Jones told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that Ward was given the option to pay the fine or spend 15 days in the Midlands Prison.

He said Ward told him that he had the cash available to him but he was choosing to go to prison instead. While en route to the prison, Ward became verbally abusing saying there was “a smell of bacon” and telling the detective “to get out of the country”.

Det Gda Parry Jones agreed with Ms McGowan that Ward then “lunged towards you, leading with his head, in an attempt to headbutt you”.

The officer said he grabbed Ward by the neck and pushed him away from him, but Ward “thrashed violently” as he tried to restrain him.

Det Gda Parry Jones said the decision was then taken to divert to Blanchardstown Garda Station so Ward could be placed in a prison van for transport to the Midlands. On arrival at the garda station he said he would pay the €500 fine and handed over the cash.

Ward (33) of Hazelcroft Gardens, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the cannabis and threatening to assault a garda in the execution of his duties on November 8, 2016.

His 145 previous convictions include 67 for theft, 66 for road traffic offences and three for possession of drugs.

Judge Martin Nolan referred to Ward as “a menace to society” and said if he had paid over the €500 fine in the first instance that “would have been the end of the matter”.

He said Det Gda Parry Jones was obviously “a professional garda” and Ward had been arrested for good reason. He added that the officer was left in a position of dealing with a difficult prisoner in a moving car.

Judge Nolan accepted that Ward had a difficult background and was remorseful for his actions. He noted he had €500 in court which he was willing to give to a charity nominated by Det Gda Parry Jones.

The officer indicated he would like the donation to go to Little Blue Heroes, a charity set up by gardaí for terminally ill children.

The judge also acknowledged that Ward, who was addicted to crack cocaine at the time of his arrest, had “taken considerable steps” to deal with his habit and had not come to garda attention since 2017.

Judge Nolan suspended a two and half year sentence in full on strict conditions.

Det Gda Parry Jones agreed with Eoin Lawlor BL, defending, that had Ward paid the €500 he would not have been arrested at his home as the drug offence would have been dealt with by way of a summons.

Mr Lawlor told Judge Nolan that his client suffered a head injury when he was nine years old for which he later received a large sum of money by way of compensation. He received the cash when he was 18, by which time he had developed a significant drug habit.

Counsel said Ward then found himself with “a massive amount of cash to service his habit” which exasperated his addiction. He later found himself needing to commit crime to feed this habit.

Mr Lalwor said Ward had a crack cocaine habit at the time of his arrest but he had since engaged with addiction services and had managed to stay off “addictive substances” since January.

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