26 Jun 2022

Prison sentence for man who breached barring order

Prison sentence for man who  breached  barring order

A man who breached a barring order has been sentenced to nine months in prison, with four months suspended on the condition that he take all medication prescribed to him and remain alcohol and drug free prior to his release.

Ciarán Higgins, of no fixed abode, has appeared on a number of occasions before Judge Seamus Hughes for theft, public order, assault and domestic violence.

He has been in custody since January 16 and his sentence has been backdated to then.

At a sitting of Longford District Court two weeks ago, it was heard that on December 14, 2020, at 11.10pm, gardaí received reports from the man’s father that he was in the house in breach of a barring order.

When gardaí arrived at the house, the accused was not present. Gardaí went to look for him and returned to the house at 12.12am and it was revealed that the accused had gone into the attic.

“The Armed Support Unit were called for assistance and the accused was carried out of the attic as he was unconscious but responsive,” a garda told the court.

“You mean he was pretending to be unconscious,” said Judge Hughes.

The accused was brought to Mullingar hospital and was admitted voluntarily to St Loman’s that morning before being released on December 20 and returning to his father’s house where he was later arrested again for being in breach of a barring order.

The court heard that the accused would be pleading guilty to two charges of theft of wine, a section 8 Public Order offence and a section 6 Public Order offence.

He pleaded not guilty to two section 4 Public Order charges, both of which were struck out. He entered a guilty plea to breaching the barring order but disputed a section 2 assault charge, which was also struck out.

In terms of the public order charges that were not struck out, Sgt Enda Daly, for the state, explained that on August 5, 2020, at Camlin Mews, the accused was observed in breach of his bail condition that he was to stay out of Longford.

“He failed to leave when directed by gardaí and followed gardaí to the car, shouting ‘f*ck the police, f*ck the police’,” said Sgt Daly.

Solicitor for the defence Frank Gearty drew the judge’s attention to a 25 page report by Dr Benjamin O’Keefe, which stated that the accused “was presenting at that time with psychotic episodes” and that he is accepting treatment in prison, which will continue in the event of a custodial disposal.

“I’m sure there are plenty of people in his community that would like to see him put away for a very long time,” said Judge Hughes.

“And there are probably people who think prison is the last place he should be. The sad aspect is he’s barred from the family home, which could result in conflict. His father is terrified and the Armed Support Unit had to take him out of the attic because he feigned illness.

“I get the feeling he’s quite capable of making things difficult for the court but everyone runs out of road eventually. I’ve had plenty of patience with him.”

Judge Hughes sentenced the man to nine months in prison with the final four suspended, commencing from January 16, which means “he should be out of prison soon”.

For each of the section 6 and section 8 Public Order offences, he handed down a one month concurrent sentence and, for each of the two charges of theft, he received a further one month concurrent sentence.

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