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Man said “have that, you w**ker” before kicking garda in the face

CourtsBy Sunday World
garda coat.jpg
garda coat.jpg

A man who engaged in a high-speed drunken car chase before fracturing the nose of an arresting garda who bent down to pick up his glasses has been jailed for six months.

Joseph Union engaged in “quite a mean offence” when he asked a garda to pick up his glasses before kicking him in the face, Judge Cormac Quinn said in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

He handed down a 12 month sentence to the father-of-two, but suspended the final six months.

The court heard Union told the garda, “have that, you wanker” before assaulting him.

Union of Pinewoods, Clondalkin, Dublin, was found guilty by a jury of assaulting the garda following a trial in February. He was found not guilty of resisting arrest.

He pleaded guilty to one count of drink-driving, three counts of dangerous driving and one count of failing to stop. All of the offences took place in Ballyfermot on April 11, 2012.

Garda Adrian Eustace told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Union was observed pulling two 180 degree handbrake turns on a road in the middle of the afternoon in question. He then took off at high speeds, veering on to the wrong side of the road.

At one point, he stopped the car and was approached by a garda on foot. However, he then reversed towards the garda, narrowly missing him, before taking off again. When he was eventually pulled over, there was a strong smell of alcohol on him.

After Union was handcuffed, he told a garda he had dropped his glasses and asked him to pick them up for him. As the garda bent over to pick them up, Union kicked him in the nose, fracturing it.

In a victim impact statement handed up to court, the garda said he found it hard to accept that he was injured while carrying out a favour for the accused.

“He would have found it easier if it had happened in the course of a struggle,” Mr Coffey said. He still suffers pain to his nose and has a small scar.

Union has a number of previous convictions, including for road traffic offences, assault and public order offences.

Damien Colgan SC, defending, said Union had attended the funeral of his friend on the day in question. He had several drinks and drove home because his partner needed the car, Mr Colgan said.

He now accepted the verdict of the jury and was remorseful for his actions, the court heard.

Mr Colgan submitted there was “little to gain” from incarcerating Union. He said he had not come to garda attention in recent years, had steady employment and supported his children. He was hopeful of buying a house in the next few years.

However, Judge Quinn said he disagreed, noting he had witnessed the CCTV footage of the incident. “It merits a custodial sentence,” he said.