Defendant believed paramedic was an intruder

Sinead Kelleher

A Listowel man who attacked a paramedic attempting to help his brother believed he was an intruder and punched him into the mouth, Listowel District Court was told last week.

The court heard that David Costello of 8 Dirha Cottages, Listowel, was before the court on a charge  of assault at his home in October 2017.  The court heard that gardaí had been called to assist paramedics  because the defendant was "agitated, highly volatile and aggressive' in the house while paramedics were attempting to treat his brother so much so that a struggle ensued and pepper spray had to be used on Mr Costello to calm the situation down. The paramedic suffered bruising as a result.

Judge David Waters said that he has strong feelings on assaulting emergency personnel particularly ambulance personnel and firemen as they are not trained to deal with aggression.  Defence solicitor, Padraig O'Connell, said that  Mr Costello was "not aware of the identity or role of Mr Buckley (the paramedic)" on the night.

Sgt Kieran O'Connell explained that the paramedic was not dressed in an uniform as he is involved in the Rapid Response Unit and was called because the patient was unresponsive and his expertise was needed. 

Mr O'Connell said given that there  was no uniform his client had given a "reasonable excuse"  for what happened.  He said that his client has "a myriad of medical difficulties from head to toe and everything in between." He added the "brothers are joined at the hip" and that both have medical difficulties and would also have difficulties with comprehension and intellect. 

Judge David Waters said that his "gut reaction" was to put him in custody but that he should first get the benefit of a suspended sentence first and this is what he would do.  The court heard that Mr Costello has 14 previous convictions the most recent of which dates back to July 2018. 

He gave Mr Costello a five month suspended sentence but warned that if he came before him again he would activate this sentence along with giving him another one.  "He doesn't seem to be a man that wants to help himself," said Judge Waters.