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The Galway Advertiser
by Martina Nee
A man, who took all his depression medication in one go, was found with a hatchet after smashing the window of the Garda station, the Athlone District Court heard this week.
David Courtney (26) with an address at 1 St Ruth’s Park, Athlone, appeared in court last Tuesday for the charge of criminal damage, namely breaking two double glazed window worth €388.73 at Athlone Garda Station, Barrack Street, on November 30, 2007. He also faced the offence of being intoxicated in a public place and threatening and abusive behaviour on December 10, 2007, at Church Street, Athlone.
Inspector Jarlaith Folan told the court that at 3.25am on November 30 gardai were in the public office of the station when the window was “smashed”. He added that when two Garda officers ran out to investigate they “saw the accused outside with a hatchet at his feet”.
In relation to the public order offence, the Inspector said that on December 10 the defendant was involved in a “drunken row outside the Genoa Cafe”. He said that the defendant has previous convictions which include a number of public order offences as well as offences under the larceny and firearms acts.
Defence solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, urged Judge Conal Gibbons to be as lenient as possible as his client did plead guilty to the charges, gave statements at the Garda station, co-operated fully, and is willing to give compensation.
“In a strange way these events have caused a turnaround. At the time he was on medication for depression. On the night he took it all in one go and was disorientated. When I was with him the next day he was still like that,” said Mr Quinn who added that his client has attended a GP for his problems and is in the “early stages” of addiction counselling.
“This has to be dealt with harshly. I’m going to sentence him and order him to do some community service work… I couldn’t let this pass. Only that you mentioned what you did I wouldn’t even give him that chance to make amends,” replied Judge Gibbons.
For the criminal damage charge Judge Gibbons convicted and sentenced Courtney to four months jail in lieu thereof 200 hours community service. He then remanded the defendant on continuing bail to March 11 to appear again at Athlone District Court and ordered that probation services assess the situation in the meantime.
He warned the defendant that if he fails to co-operate then the sentence will be activated.
For the public order offence, the Judge convicted and fined the defendant €450 with four months to pay and 40 days jail in default. All other charges were taken into consideration.
(Publication Date: 08/02/2008)