Saturday 16 December 2017

Student’s threat to slit garda’s throat in arrest

Saoirse Bennett was urinating in a Dublin city centre street before she was arrested
Saoirse Bennett was urinating in a Dublin city centre street before she was arrested

Andrew Phelan

A student threatened to slit a garda's throat when he confronted her for urinating on a Dublin street.

Saoirse Bennett made the threat as she hurled profanities at the officer when he tried to arrest her in the city centre.

She was found guilty of public order offences and fined €750 at Dublin District Court.

Bennett had denied the charges against her but Judge Patrick Clyne said he did not believe her evidence and described her as a “consummate actress”.

Bennett (20), of Blackhall Square, Dublin 7, had pleaded not guilty to using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour, as well as obstructing a garda in the incident.

Garda Thomas McEvoy said he was on duty on O'Connell Street at 11.30pm on July 27 last when she saw the accused walk down Prince's Street.

He saw a man urinate behind a paper stand and Bennett urinate beside a parked car. As he was speaking to the man, the accused walked by and said something. He put his hand on her shoulder and she pulled away aggressively.

As he arrested her and attempted to handcuff her, she began screaming and kicking out. Bennett called him a “dirty c**t and a f***ing scumbag”.

“She said she would slit my throat,” said Garda McEvoy.

Bennett told the court she was on her way to a party and had had two to three pints to drink.  She and her friends tried to go to the toilet in McDonald's but were refused and went down the lane.

She admitted struggling and swearing because she was “shocked”, but denied threatening to slit Gda McEvoy’s throat. “I was saying there is so much worse crime out there... I had no understanding why a girl like me was being arrested,” she said.

She felt she was targeted by the gardai because she had been involved in protests.

Judge Clyne said: “I have never heard such a load of drivel”, and described the accused as a “consummate actress”.

“What a way to end up in court,” he said. “In fairness, the poor girl went for a pee, she couldn't get in anywhere and she went to Prince's Street — it's a fairly private place.

“When asked to stop, she perceives the garda's behaviour to be heavy-handed and all hell breaks loose. It's frankly a storm in a teacup.”

He gave Bennett, who had no prior convictions, an opportunity to make a charity donation instead of a conviction.

Defence barrister Brian Stroran said the accused was declining this and the judge instead convicted her, setting recognisances in the event of an appeal.

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