Garda punched in face and knocked to ground in station row

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam,cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

A man who punched a garda in the face causing him to fall to the ground in Longford Garda Station earlier this year has been told he will be in “serious difficulty” if he commits any further offences while on bail.

Patrick Keena (29) Catherinstown, Gaybrook, Mullingar, Co Westmeath was given the stern warning by Judge Seamus Hughes after details relating to an incident at the Battery Road garda headquarters on May 11 2019 was read out in court.

Mr Keena, who was represented by defence solicitor John Quinn, pleaded guilty to a Section 2 assault on Garda Karl Foley and to damaging a cell mattress contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act 1991.

A further Section 19 charge of threatening to assault Garda Daniel Lynch and Garda Declan Brislane was withdrawn by the State.

Mr Quinn said Mr Keena was handing in €500 by way of compensation over the assault on Garda Foley and was also happy to pay a further €300 for the damage to the mattress.

In outlining how the events of May 11 last came about, Sgt Paddy McGirl said gardaí had initially been alerted to a call of a male having been refused alcohol at a bar in Longford town.

Sgt McGirl said Mr Keena was “extremely intoxicated” and when turned down in his attempts to purchase drink, he produced a flick knife to the bar tender.

No harm came to the female worker, the court heard but Mr Keena was later arrested and transported back to Longford Garda Station.

It was there, Sgt McGirl said events took a more sinister turn with Mr Keena first damaging a cell mattress valued at €221.

Moments later, when in the prisoner processing area of the station, Sgt McGirl said an incident occurred in which the accused had to be restrained by gardaí.

It was during that episode, Sgt McGirl said Mr Keena picked up a chair and threw it at a garda, narrowly missing the officer in the process.

In the midst of the scuffle that followed, it was revealed Mr Keena struck out and punched Garda Foley across the jaw, causing him to fall to the ground.

Despite that, he said Garda Foley continued to remain on duty for the remainder of his shift and did not require medical attention.

The court was also informed Mr Keena had 16 previous convictions to his name with the most recent coming in June 2018 for a public order related offence and which culminated in a Section 1 (2) Probation Act order being handed down.

Mr Quinn said it was abundantly clear to him his client and alcohol were a mixture which did not sit well.

“He is on a course of medication and he isn’t to drink and he will take a pledge in that regard,” said Mr Quinn, who also revealed his client was concentrating on upholding a new relationship he was now in.

“He is 29 and he has taken up employment. I hope he will maintain the work at a monastery in Multyfarnham.”

Mr Quinn also contended Mr Keena was due to appear in court in Mullingar the following Thursday for an alcohol related offence.

Judge Hughes said he was very much cognisant of the seriousness of the incident and how a flick knife had also been used.

Mr Keena said there was a plausible reason for him being found with the knife, owing to the fact he had been cleaning out his car that morning for an NCT test and had the implement for work related purposes.

Judge Hughes opted against determining the case last Tuesday and said he would be “considering all options” pending the completion of a probation report.

In telling Mr Keena the case would be re-entered without haste should he come under garda scrutiny in the intervening period, he said: “If you commit any further offences you will be in serious difficulty”.

Mr Keena simply replied: “I don’t plan to,” with the case being adjourned until November 19 2019.