Headlocked stranger in petrol station
A 25-year-old Dundalk man, whose solicitor says has the 'understanding of a child' following a crash has admitted putting a stranger into a headlock at a petrol station in the town.
Aidan Leonard, 11 Barton Park, admitted a charge of assault which arose out of the incident at the Maxol station on the Castletown Road on June 5 2016.
Solicitor Peter Lavery tried to get the case adjourned as he had only just received CCTV of the incident and told Judge John Coughlan that he was concerned about Leonard's capacity to understand the charge as he didn't recall the incident.
But Judge Coughlan told the solicitor to 'go view the CCTV now' and when the matter was called again a short time later, Mr Lavery said Leonard would enter a guilty plea.
The judge as told how the victim, a man, was at the garage getting petrol when Leonard started talking to him about glasses. As the man went in to pay for his fuel, the defendant put his arm around the victim's neck and pulled him in a headlock.
Gardai said the man was not physically injured and confirmed he didn't know Leonard.
Judge Coughlan was told the defendant has six previous convictions, half of which were for theft and two for arson, which resulted in three year suspended sentence being handed down at Dundalk Circuit Court.
Mr Lavery explained the arson charge related to a bin being set on fire which then caused a car to go on fire.
He said his client was in court with his mum and had been involved in a car crash when he was 11, leaving him 'with the understanding of a child'.
Mr Lavery added that Leonard cannot remember this incident at the garage, which had happened when he was drunk, and he doesn't take drugs. As a result, the defendant doesn't drink any more and had one drink at Christmas last year.
He goes to bingo four times a week with his mum and the assault had happened at a time when Leonard's relationship with the mother of his two children had 'fallen apart'. The accused remains on good terms with his children, whom 'he adores', and he takes them to and from school.
Judge Coughlan said he wanted to see a probation report before finalising the matter and adjourned the case to November 1, saying: 'We will see what we can do for this gentleman.'