Published: Wednesday, 11th May, 2011 5:30pm
Man who threw chair at judge pleads guilty
A man with an address in Ballyjamesduff, and formerly from Dublin, pleaded guilty at a Special Sitting of Cavan District Court to a charge of assaulting Judge Sean MacBride at a sitting of the court on February 17, 2011.
Paddy Foran from Carnin, Ballyjamesduff also pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour on the occasion.
He also faces another charge alleging that he had unlawful possession of stolen property, including a dog trailer with two steel ramps to the value of €360, a Stihl chainsaw to the value of €300, and one steel handmade welder's trolley to the value of €80, knowing the property was stolen or being reckless as to whether it was stolen. All items were recovered.
Judge David Anderson remanded the defendant on bail to July 15, to allow a Probation Service report to be formulated.
Inspector Drea told the court that on February 17 at approximately 1.15pm the injured party, Judge Sean MacBride was presiding at Cavan District Court. He was hearing a case in which Mr Foran was a defendant when the judge told him he would be remanded in custody. Mr Foran, picked up a wooden chair where he was sitting beside the window in the courtroom and threw it at the bench where Judge MacBride was sitting.
Inspector Dermot Drea explained that the chair bounced and broke a glass and hit Judge MacBride in the chest. "In fairness Judge MacBride was quite lucky to avoid serious injury at the time, as was the district court clerk. Mr Foran was restrained by gardaí. He resisted quite aggressively, but was eventually restrained and brought to the garda station."
Inspector Drea said the defendant had 14 previous convictions, all road traffic related.
Mr Shane Murray, BL, instructed by Ms Rita Martin, solicitor defending, said that Mr Foran has a nine-year-old child and suffered badly from the break-up of a relationship; he suffered depression. "At the time of the events in this courthouse and the Section 2 assault, he had been prescribed medication for the depression for nearly a year," said Mr Murray. "That day, he had not taken his medication for three or four days. He had mislaid the box containing the medication."
Mr Murray said the defendant had no history of violence or assault or of theft or handling charges. "He had been on bail, he had breached a curfew order made by Judge MacBride. He had accepted work as a bouncer at a private function." He was seen at the event by a garda who advised him to go home. She then brought the matter back before the court.
Judge MacBride took a certain view in relation to the breach of the curfew and indicated that he was withdrawing Mr Foran's bail. "He did something he accepts is entirely irrational and unacceptable . He regrets it."In a statement he made to gardaí at Castlerea Prison, the defendant expressed his regret and apologised for having thrown the chair.
Mr Murray asked Judge Anderson to treat Mr Foran as a first time offender. He had pleaded guilty and had saved the court a lot of time. The defendant had been in custody since February 17.
Inspector Drea said he had gone to the High Court and was refused bail there.
Judge Anderson said he was going to treat Mr Foran as a first time offender:
"Nobody could condone an assault on a judge and that must be dealt with. I am going to ask community service to see Mr Foran for their general recommendations and also for them to consider the possibility of community service. Given what I have already been told about his previous and that, I am not automatically considering a custodial option," said Judge Anderson.
Mr Murray said his client would hope to return to Dublin and seek work there.
He will reside in East Wall, Dublin 3 and will have to sign on at Store Street Garda Station on Wednesday and Saturdays. Judge Anderson also imposed a curfew, 10.30pm to 7.30am, unless he is at work.
The defendant was remanded on bail on his own nominal bond to July 15, 2011 for a probation report to include an assessment for community service, to appear at Cavan District Court.