Man failed to pay fines but has ‘audacity’ to seek legal aid in Longford court

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Man failed to pay fines but has ‘audacity’ to seek legal aid in Longford court

A man charged with public order offences has been ordered to return to court on April 27, for payment of €410 worth of fines from previous convictions.

Shane Kelly. 47 Padraic Colum Heights, Longford, appeared at last Tuesday’s sitting of Longford District Court where it was heard that, on March 9, 2021, at 1am on the Battery Road, Gda Joe Kavanagh heard “shouting and roaring” outside.

“I went outside and I saw the accused and another male, both shouting and roaring. They were extremely intoxicated,” said Gda Kavangh.

Mr Kelly was asked to leave the area but became abusive to gardaí, the court heard. He was arrested and conveyed to Longford Garda Station, where he was searched and found to be in possession of €20 worth of cannabis.

Sgt Mark Mahon said that Mr Kelly has 11 previous convictions, including a number for public order dating as far back as 2014, with a number of fines handed down.

“Have you paid your fines?” asked Judge Seamus Hughes.

“I paid a few of them,” Mr Kelly replied.

“I don’t like this sort of offence because I live in a town and it upsets people living on the Battery Road,” said Judge Hughes in response to an application for legal aid.

“A Garda came out and told you to go home and you did what?” he asked Mr Kelly.

“I said yes,” said Mr Kelly.

“No. You became threatening and abusive and now you have the audacity to come here and look for legal aid. Where do you think that comes from?” asked Judge Hughes.

It was confirmed that Mr Kelly had a total of four outstanding fines from previous convictions.

“So you haven’t paid your fines. You told me a bare-faced lie. This isn’t a game. You haven’t paid a fine in years so how can you think you paid fines when you haven’t paid one out of four?” asked Judge Hughes.

“You’re here looking for legal aid, so you’ve got to pay what you owe. There’s too much ‘softly, softly’ up the length and breadth of the country. A sterner approach needs to be taken. I’m going to collect the fines in this district,” he continued.

“You owe €410. You have enough money for drugs and drink. Why should I give you any time? Why shouldn’t I send you off to prison?

“He gets his social welfare and he goes out and spends it on drink. He has a great life for himself.”

Solicitor for the accused, John Quinn asked for time for his client to pay the outstanding fines. Judge Hughes agreed to adjourn the case to April 27 for payment of €410 in outstanding fines and for finalisation by a further fine.

“Now I feel happier granting legal aid. At least the state won’t be out of pocket. If you don’t pay the fines, you’ll go to prison,” Judge Hughes concluded.