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25/10/2021

Longford man facing assault charge spared public order conviction

Longford man facing assault charge spared public order conviction

A Longford teenager who was spotted brandishing a metal stick in the county town ten days before allegedly carrying out an assault on a man while out walking his dog in the county town has escaped criminal conviction.

Nineteen-year-old Paddy Rodgers with addresses at 43 Farnagh, Longford and West House Cafe, Lisanurlan, Longford was afforded Section 1 (2) of the Probation Act at last week's sitting of Longford District Court following an incident at Dublin Street, Longford on July 15 2021.

Mr Rodgers is currently on remand in Cloverhill Prison on foot of a number of charges, one of which involved an alleged assault on July 25 last which left a man in his late 50s in hospital.

At last Tuesday's district court sitting before Judge Bernadette Owens, the court heard how Mr Rodgers had been arrested just ten days previously shortly after being spotted armed with a metal stick in the Great Water Street area of town.

Sgt Mark Mahon, for the prosecution, said gardaí received a report at around 10:20pm of a male banging on the windows of an apartment complex the accused had previously resided in.

Judge Owens was told when gardaí arrived at the scene a number of local residents had gathered outside, telling officers a man fitting Mr Rodgers' description had been seen a short time beforehand acting in a "very threatening" and intoxicated manner.

Sgt Mahon said following a short patrol of the area, Mr Rodgers was identified and arrested on Dublin Street holding an unopened bottle of cider.

He said Mr Rodgers, had no previous convictions to his name and no damage was caused to property as a result of the incident.

The court also heard Mr Rodgers had also been arrested and charged with shoplifting from Sports Direct, Ballymahon Street, Longford two months prior to the public order offences.

Sgt Mahon said the accused was observed removing security tags from a Nike runner, t-shirt and tracksuit before walking out of the store without paying.

The total value of the stolen goods amounted to €191 with none of the items being recovered, Judge Owens was informed.

Mr Rodgers, who was wearing a black zipped jumper and blue jeans, sat quietly in the custody suite of the court while details of the case were read out.

In defence, solicitor Fiona Baxter said her client was someone who suffered from very complex mental health issues and intellectual disabilities.

She said at the time of Mr Rodgers first being remanded in custody in July, both a social worker and a representative from Galro, a private company who provide support services to vulnerable adults, had been assigned to provide support to the teenager.

However, since going into custody he has lost all services, added Ms Baxter.

The local solicitor went on to tell the court a psychiatric report had been carried out on her client in connection to “other matters” Mr Rodgers was before the courts on which provided additional background history on the Longford teenager's childhood.

“He is currently on remand in Cloverhill Prison,” she added.

“My understanding was he was to get psychiatric treatment while he was in there, but I spoke to him this morning (Tuesday) and I don't think he is getting any supports at the moment.”

It was also revealed Mr Rodgers had since been granted bail, but was unable to meet the terms of that order due to his inability to find suitable accommodation and meeting a €100 independent surety lodgement.

Ms Baxter said Mr Rodgers' family were "well known" to both the courts and gardaí, adding that despite being conscious of what was said in open court, there were other "matters currently being investigated by the Gardaí" in relation to her client.

She said the circumstances as to her client's personal background made for grim reading, adding Mr Rodgers had been effectively left "with absolutely no one in the world" to turn to.

"He is estranged from his father and his mother left the family home a number of years ago," she said, revealing that Mr Rodgers older brother who he had been "inseparable" from was now in state care.

Judge Owens said she would not be convicting Mr Rodgers of either offences, instead opting to issue Section 1 (2) of the Probation Act while "taking into consideration" both Section 4 and 6 public order offences.

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