independent

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Woman assaulted crime reporter

A woman who assaulted a national newspaper reporter when he arrived at her house to interview one of her sons has been convicted and fined €200.

Ailish Hammond (39) assaulted The Star's Crime Correspondent Michael O'Toole in the front garden of her home in Balbriggan but claimed she did not know he was a reporter.

She claimed there were a number of threats being made in relation to one of her sons over a serious offence and he had been in court earlier that day. When she received a knock to the door she panicked and assaulted Mr O'Toole.

'She didn't know who was behind the door and thought there was a reality to the threats against one of her sons,' defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy told Judge John Lindsay at Balbriggan District Court.

The defendant, of Bath Road in Balbriggan pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr O'Toole contrary to Section 2 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act at her home address on October 27, 2015.

Sergeant Tony Tighe said there was no note of the injuries to the injured party but there was medical evidence he had attended a doctor afterwards.

She has a number of previous convictions including convictions for the sale and supply of drugs and drink driving.

Explaining the defendant's actions, Ms D'Arcy said Hammond was 'concerned for her son's safety and future' as he was accused of a serious offence.

'It was a complicated situation as she was fearful for her son and because of the threats she reacted badly when there was a knock on the door,' said Ms D'Arcy.

'It was only subsequent to the assault that she realised the man was a reporter and she is extremely sorry for her actions.

'Her drug offences haven't brought as much shame to her as this charge and she is mortified for what she did.'

Ms D'Arcy said the defendant is on medication for depression and her partner, who is incarcerated, is facing deportation and she doesn't dabble anymore with drugs.

'She can't take back what happened but is sincere in her apology to the victim and to the court. She has said it won't happen again,' said Ms D'Arcy, adding the charge against her son has been finalised and the threats are gone.

Judge Lindsay convicted and fined her €200.

Fingal Independent

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