Saturday 24 August 2019

Bite lands woman in jail

A 32-year-old woman who bit a man on the arm, has been sentenced to four months imprisonment.

Mary Ikhena pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm arising out of that incident which occurred at a house in O'Hanlon Park, on 2 June, 2018.

In total, the defendant, of no fixed abode, admitted 21 offences, primarily public order, which occurred between 16 September, 2017 and 9 February last. There were five counts of failing to appear in court.

Last Thursday's vacation sitting of the district court heard the mother-of-one has 26 previous convictions, and that she suffers from difficulties because of alcohol abuse.

The previous week she appeared in front of Judge Dempsey on foot of a bench warrant, and he remanded her in custody.

Sgt Fintan McGroder gave evidence that on 16 September, 2017, in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Ikhena was threatening and abusive.

On the following 25 January she refused to leave the Ramada Hotel, Carnbeg. She was not a resident and became aggressive when gardaí arrived. She was highly intoxicated.

Judge McKiernan was told of an incident between the accused and a taxi driver in Linenhall Street on 18 May, 2018. A criminal damage charge resulted from her urinating in the vehicle.

There was a strong smell of drink from Ikhena and when she was searched, she had no reasonable excuse for a small pocket knife which was found on her.

Sgt McGroder continued that the owner of a house in O'Hanlon Park had been having issues with the woman for a number of weeks.

On 2 June, 2018, Ikhena and another female were in the house drinking and allegedly taking drugs. She then began fighting with this woman and when the householder tried to intervene, she smashed three plates and a Buddha statue.

The accused then bit the man on his left arm.

There was no medical report, but a picture of the bite mark was handed into court.

The DPP had directed summary disposal of the matter and jurisdiction had already been accepted, the court presenter added.

He continued that on 1 July, 2018, at McEntee Avenue, after staggering out of the garda station car-park, Ikhena wouldn't give her name and address when approached by gardaí. She told officers to 'shut up'.

Meanwhile, on 28 August last, again in O'Hanlon Park, the same man who Ikena attacked the previous June, heard her outside the house.

He then heard glass breaking at the back. She had broken a window and was trying to force entry to the kitchen with a garden fork.

She used to live in the house but had no permission to be there on this occasion, the sergeant said.

At 8.30am on 27 October, the court was told, a taxi driver arrived at the garda station and explained Ikhena was disputing the fare.

She was very aggressive towards this man and the guards, telling the officers to 'f**k off'.

Finally, evidence was given that the accused woman was found with a knife with a sharply pointed blade on Tom Bellew Avenue on 9 February last.

Sgt McGroder said there were 26 previous convictions, and she had received a suspended sentence.

Solicitor Paula Tiernan said most of the offences in question occurred before the suspended sentence was handed down.

She added Mary Ikenha has been 17 years in Ireland and is unemployed. Her child lives with the father.

She has mental health difficulties, problems with alcohol and suffered numerous miscarriages which were reasons for her non-appearance.

However, Ms Tiernan said her client has presented much better even though she found the week in custody very difficult.

The defendant needed help. The judge had ordered an assessment of her the week before but it hadn't happened, the solicitor continued.

Ms Tiernan said she didn't know if the accused would get the help she required in custody.

The solicitor said her instructions were to finalise the matter. Her client hadn't fully engaged with the probation service, but they had expressed a view that she needed help. Last week the service had indicated a willingness to work with her.

Judge McKiernan said she had a probation report before her, dated 24 June, 2019, which outlined 'it is not possible to make a recommendation for further probation intervention'.

A four-month sentence was imposed on the assault causing harm charge, and two months for the production of an article (garden fork) offence on 28 August.

One-month sentences were imposed for engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour, all sentences to run concurrently.

Other charges were taken into consideration. The defendant was granted legal aid.

The Argus