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29 May 2022

Longford woman on public order charges to be spared criminal conviction

Longford woman on public order charges to be spared criminal conviction

A woman started roaring and shouting in the middle of a street, causing young children to become “visibly upset” as gardaí attempted to seize her car, a court has heard.

Aoife Courtney, Corboy, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, was arrested and later charged under the Public Order Act on November 9, 2021.

Last week's sitting of Longford District Court was told how Garda Gillian Carlos came across the accused at Longford garda station shortly after midday.

Ms Courtney had been sitting in a car while her partner went in to sign on.

Garda Carlos said she spoke to the accused and asked for driving documentation to be produced.

When they weren't forthcoming, Garda Carlos said the accused became “very agitated” when it became clear the vehicle was going to be seized.

Garda Carlos said at that point she asked for the keys to the vehicle, resulting in Ms Courtney's conduct to deteriorate further.
During that period, Garda Carlos said Ms Courtney started shouting, leading to children from the nearby St John's National School who had been on their break to become “visibly upset”.

She was later charged with alleged breaches of Section 8 and 6 of the Public Order Act.

Solicitor for Ms Courtney, Bríd Mimnagh said her client had become frustrated at learning that the car was being seized so soon after its purchase.

“She brought her partner to the station to sign on on a regular basis,” she said.

“There had been some verbal interaction and she was very annoyed, especially after only getting the car and didn't have anything up on the screen.

“She has no previous convictions for public order, misbehaviour or bad manners.

“She apologises for her outburst and she wasn't aware of children coming out of school.”

Judge Bernadette Owens said while she could understand Ms Courtney's annoyance, it was clear Garda Carlos was simply carrying out her duties.

“Obviously she was concerned when Garda Carlos said she was going to seize the car, but Garda Carlos was simply carrying out her duties.”

To that end, Judge Owens said she was of a mind to spare Ms Courtney a criminal conviction on the proviso a €300 sum was paid to St Christopher's Services.

In the event the fine is not paid, the court would likely impose a conviction and fine of €250.

The case was adjourned until July 19.

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