A young man who was part of a large group of youths shouting in the streets of Granard last year has been ordered to come up with compensation of €1,000 for a garda who was injured during his arrest.
James Kelly, 5 Masterson Close, Abbeylara, Longford, was one of approximately 20 to 30 young people chanting on Barrack Street, Granard on April 14, 2019.
“Gardaí received reports of 20 to 30 youths walking on Main Street in Granard, chanting as they were walking along the road,” explained Sgt Paddy McGirl on behalf of the State.
“Gardaí directed them to leave the vicinity. The vast majority of them did, but six or seven did not.
“Mr Kelly became abusive to gardaí and told them to F-off.
“Garda Fox directed them to leave again but they didn’t, so he arrested Mr Kelly and, when he was bringing him back to the car, the other youths intervened and a struggle ensued. Garda Fox received several kicks to his legs and his ankles.”
Sgt McGirl explained that Garda Fox arrested Mr Kelly and conveyed him to Granard Garda Station, which was just a short distance away.
“The other individuals in the area continued to shout and chant. Back at the station, he (Mr Kelly) started shouting and chanting back to them,” said Sgt McGirl.
The young people had attended the funeral of their friend who had tragically taken his own life a few days earlier and were chanting ‘f*** the cops’, the court heard.
“Garda Fox was unfit for duty for six days as a result of being kicked,” said Sgt McGirl.
Judge Hughes asked what the crime rate was like in Granard and how often incidents like this occur.
Sgt McGirl explained that there is no night club in Granard and that this kind of incident wouldn’t be common.
“Have you and your friends met up since, in a big group or in smaller groups? What’s the general feeling about this?” asked Judge Hughes, turning his attention to the accused.
“Not good,” Mr Kelly replied.
“What happened that night?” asked Judge Hughes.
“We were too drunk,” the accused replied.
Solicitor for the defence, Bríd Mimnagh, in mitigation, explained that her client had not come to the attention of the gardaí since the incident and added that he was only on €112 a week on the dole.
“You don’t come into court to me with one arm longer than the other after kicking a guard and having him off work for six days,” Judge Hughes snapped.
“Go and get your 20 or 30 friends together and get a collection together for compensation. This was a serious assault. You’re carrying the can for your 20 or 30 friends.
“You’ve got to come up with €1,000 or you’re spending six months in prison.”
He then adjourned the case to September 18 to allow Mr Kelly time to come up with the money.