AN animal-welfare officer was subjected to an "unprovoked and frightening" attack after a man mistakenly believed the official had confiscated his pedigree dog, a court has heard.
Two days before Christmas last year, ISPCA officer Frank Coote was driving on the Western Relief Road of the Ennis bypass at around 2.40pm when he was pulled over by Patrick Francis Doherty (31) of Bay One, Ballaghboy, Quin Road, Ennis, Co Clare. According to Insp John Galvin, Mr Doherty subjected Mr Coote to "an unprovoked and frightening assault".
At Ennis District Court, Mr Doherty pleaded guilty to Section 3 assault causing harm to Mr Coote on December 23 at the Rocky Road roundabout outside Ennis.
"Mr Coote got blows from the accused to the side of his face," Insp Galvin told the court. "He called out for a passer-by to call gardai and Mr Doherty assaulted him again."
Insp Galvin said Mr Coote attended the A&E unit at Ennis General Hospital as he had sustained a swollen jaw and cuts to the inside of his mouth.
Mr Coote is a well-known figure locally, having a weekly animal-welfare slot on Clare FM.
Mr Doherty was also before the court on a separate charge relating to the smashing of the windscreen of a garda car at Ashline, Ennis, the next day.
Solicitor for the accused, Darragh Hassett, said for two days last December, Mr Doherty "was out of control".
"Forty-eight hours of madness took place because he was mentally sick," Mr Hassett said.
He said Mr Doherty had not taken his prescribed medication over the two days, and handed a medical report into court.
Mr Hassett said Mr Doherty had been told wrongly that Mr Coote had taken his dog.
"He was sick when he met Mr Coote. They had an altercation and he has since apologised to Mr Coote. Mr Coote and the Doherty family go back many the year."
Judge Joseph Mangan adjourned the case to September 16 for the preparation of a probation report.