Longford man jailed for two months calls judge 'dirty' and 'smelly'

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Courthouse.

A man called a female judge 'dirty' and 'smelly' at last week's District Court sitting after she sentenced him to two months in prison

A judge was accused of being “dirty” and “smelly” by a Longford man last week after she sentenced him to two months in prison for no insurance and possession of a slash hook.

John Robertson (29) 79 McKeown Park, Farnagh, Longford hurled abuse at Judge Erin McKiernan at last week’s District Court sitting after he pleaded guilty to two incidents of driving without insurance on April 24 and June 1 2019.

Both of the incidents took place in Farnagh, close to where Mr Robertson resides, the court heard.
Defence solicitor John Quinn opened the case by saying his client was pleading guilty to having no insurance as well as a “technical plea” to being in possession of a slash hook.

Similar pleas were also entered for a Section 6 public order offence of engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour at Tesco, Longford Shopping Centre, Townparks, Longford on April 25 2018.

Sgt Mark Mahon said that episode occurred at 7:15pm when the defendant was in the company of a female.

He said the pair were approached by security when an item which had been selected in the store was not paid for.

When they spoke to Mr Robertson, the Longford man suddenly became abusive by shouting and pushing a security guard.

Details were also read out concerning the two no insurance charges.

The first incident took place at 12:25am on April 25 when Mr Robertson was driving a Nissan and was stopped by Detective Gardas Damien McGovern and Sean Galvin who were on patrol.

Sgt Mark Mahon said a search on the vehicle was carried out under the Misuse of Drugs Act which culminated in a slash hook being found beside the driver’s seat.

He said when asked about why it was in the car, Mr Robertson said he had been “cutting bushes” earlier that day.

A demand was also made of Mr Robertson to produce his driving licence and certificate of insurance within ten days, but no documents were ever produced.

Two months later, on June 1 at 6:20pm again at Farnagh, Garda Barry Gillespie spotted Mr Robertson driving and like the previous incident a demand was made for both the defendant’s licence and insurance policy but similarly neither were furnished.

Judge Erin McKiernan was told Mr Robertson had 81 previous convictions, five of which were for no insurance.

The most recent of those dated back to June 21 2017 when Mr Robertson was disqualified from driving for four years and fined €250.

It was also revealed the defendant had a previous conviction for weapons possession, a conviction from February 2 2011 which was taken into consideration by the judge.

The other convictions Sgt Mahon said were linked to thefts, burglaries and public disorder.

In mitigation, Mr Quinn said his client had been “down in the dumps” of late after his partner had recently suffered a miscarriage.

He added Mr Robertson was very much needed at home to support his partner who was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

“John’s record is poor and he is asking if the court might consider a community service order in the circumstances,” he added.

Mr Quinn also insisted Mr Robertson was now without a vehicle and had no intention of driving anytime soon.

Mr Robertson also addressed the court in an attempt to shed further light on the latest charge of driving without insurance which had been levelled against him.

“I have a two year old and I was going up and down to Temple Street (Children’s Hospital),” he said, adding his child was being treated for two clubbed feet.

“That was the last time I was stopped for driving.”

Turning his focus to the charge of having a slash hook in his possession, Mr Robertson said the item had been used previously for gardening work and that his father had simply forgotten to take it out of the car.

Mr Quinn intervened once more following those comments and insisted Mr Robertson was not part or involved in any ongoing feud in Longford town.

Listening on, Judge McKiernan said while she empathised with Mr Robertson over his difficult personal circumstances, the fact he had five previous convictions for no insurance and was now charged with two more, meant her hands were very much tied.

“Is there any way you can put me on for community service, Miss?” Mr Robertson asked.

Mr Quinn threw a certain element of doubt on that request when revealing that because of Mr Robertson’s condition of Chrone’s Disease, his eligibility might be up for question.

“I have done community service plenty of times,” Mr Robertson responded.

Judge McKiernan offered up no further comment as she sentenced Mr Robertson to two months in prison for each of the no insurance charges, both to run concurrently.

She also disqualified him from driving for eight years on one of the charges.

The public order charge was taken into consideration along with a Section 38 charge of having no driving licence in place.

Standing with his hands on his hips, Mr Robertson cut a frustrated figure as he shouted up to Judge McKiernan: “Can I not show remorse, no?”

With no reply forthcoming Mr Robertson hurled abuse at Judge McKiernan, calling her “dirty” and “smelly” before being escorted out of the courtroom by a number of gardaí.