A man who was in possession of an article capable of causing harm in Longford town in broad daylight has been sentenced to nine months in prison.
Paul Donoghue, 50 Magdelene Court, Kells, Co Meath, appeared before Longford District Court last Tuesday where solicitor for the defence Frank Gearty told the court that the accused was entering a guilty plea, adding that on November 4 he was remanded in custody on this charge.
“These offences are relatively old. He wasn’t charged with this until November 2020. He was in custody on this charge on November 4, 2020, and a lady judge gave him a four month sentence for possession of a slash hook,” Mr Gearty explained.
Examining a photograph of the incident, Judge Hughes noted that Mr Donoghue was in possession of the slash hook on Main Street Longford in broad daylight.
“I see two men walking down the street and that’s him with a hatchet,” said Judge Hughes.
“Behind him is a man running and he has a slash hook. He’ll be before the court too I presume. So he intended to cause injury to John Robertson.
“I come from a very civilised town. What I see here is absolutely horrifying to happen in broad daylight in the middle of a main street,” Judge Hughes added.
“This picture is of a very frightening scene.”
Mr Donoghue, speaking up for himself, explained, “At that time, Mr Hughes, I was heavy on drugs.”
“That may be but you have a good stride and the lad behind you took up a Usain Bolt stride too,” said Judge Hughes.
Mr Gearty explained that his client had given “specific instructions” not to give any “measly excuses”.
“He’s residing with his sister and her two children in Athlone and he gives her meaningful support,” he explained.
Sgt Enda Daly told the court that Mr Donoghue has 44 previous convictions, including no insurance in November 2020, for which he was disqualified for seven years and received a four month sentence, with a concurrent sentence of four months for possession of a slash hook.
Other convictions include assault causing harm, dangerous driving, endangerment, road traffic matters and theft.
“What was the reason behind the assault?” Judge Hughes asked.
Sgt Daly explained that there was an ongoing dispute in the area before calling on Detective Garda Orla Geraghty to explain the background.
“On that day in question, Lucy Donoghue had rang and said John Robertson had verbally abused her in the street,” Detective Gda Geraghty explained.
“She’s a relation and she’s like a mother figure to the family. There’s a protective feel towards her,” said Mr Gearty.
“He’s an intelligent fellow. He’s been in a life of crime since he was 13 years old and he spent some time in Oberstown.”
“He’s in custody on these charges since November 2020, including a sentence. I’m giving him a sentence today but it won’t be backdated to November. The evidence by the gardaí is very powerful,” said Judge Hughes.
“Longford town is deserving of a better reputation than it has. It gets bad publicity and undeservedly so, but it is justifiable in that there are too many feuds and serious incidents.
“If that photo was shown live in a video, it would have sent a chill down my spine. So it is deserving of an appropriate sentence as a deterrent that other people won’t do this - particularly if you’re in a gang. And that’s exactly what they were - armed to the teeth.
“I’m sentencing him to nine months from today. I was thinking of refusing jurisdiction. In fact, I was on the verge of it,” he said.
“Would you consider suspending it?” asked Mr Gearty.
“No,” Judge Hughes concluded simply.
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