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Suspended sentence Dublin man who bit, threw fan at, and threatened to have gardaí shot while on bail avoids jail

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client Leon Travers (25) offers an apology for his behaviour and regrets his actions

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Leon Travers

Leon Travers

Leon Travers

A man who bit a garda, threw a fan at another garda and threatened to have a bullet put in her head while he was on bail for criminal damage has received a fully suspended sentence.

When Leon Travers (25) was arrested by gardaí for an alleged public order offence in October 2018, he engaged in “aggressive” and threatening behaviour in a garda station and while being treated in hospital.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that in September 2017, Travers was involved in a fight which spilled into a service station, resulting in €365 of damage to the shop. He was on bail for this offence at the time of the incidents in 2018.

Travers of Whitestown Drive, Mulhuddart, Dublin pleaded guilty threatening to kill a garda at James Connolly Memorial hospital and assaulting a garda at Blanchardstown Garda Station on October 29 and October 30, 2018.

He also pleaded guilty to criminal damage at Applegreen Service Station, Clonsilla Road, Dublin, on September 1, 2017. He has no previous convictions.

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Leon Travers

Leon Travers

Leon Travers

 

At a previous sentencing hearing, Judge Martin Nolan indicated he intended to impose 150 hours of community service in lieu of a six-month prison sentence for the October 2018 incident if Travers was deemed suitable by the Probation Service.

Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Nolan noted that Travers had been deemed unsuitable for community service. He said he had to decide whether or not Travers deserved a custodial sentence based on both incidents.

Judge Nolan sentenced Travers to nine months imprisonment each for the offences in September 2017 and October 2018.

He ordered that they run consecutive to each other for a total sentence of 18 months imprisonment and suspended that sentence in its entirety.

In his evidence Detective Garda Alan Lynch told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that after his arrest in October 2018, Travers was aggressive and difficult with arresting gardaí who were taking him to hospital for a nose injury. While handcuffed in the hospital he kicked over a trolley of instruments.

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Both female gardaí present felt Travers was trying to loosen his handcuffs to get hold of scissors in the treatment room. He told one female garda he would stick it in her neck.

He told the other he had seen her around his local shops, saying “I'll get a few of the kids to put a bullet in your head”.

Travers then picked up a small fan from a table and threw it at the garda, striking her on the cheek. He was deemed to be too aggressive to be examined and he was taken back to the garda station.

The following morning, Travers again lashed out at gardaí who were taking him to court. When one garda put a hand on his shoulder to try and calm him down, Travers bit his hand, leaving a mark, the court heard.

None of the gardaí made a victim impact statement.

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Leon Travers

Leon Travers

Leon Travers

 

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said that his client needed treatment in hospital for a broken nose he had received while being arrested.

The gardaí were “very heavy-handed and injured him,” Mr Spencer said. Det Gda Lynch was unable to confirm this.

Mr Spencer said his client offers an apology for his behaviour and regrets his actions. “Tensions were high,” he told the court.

He said his client does not work and is a full-time father to his three young children. He is a first-time offender who has no addiction issues.

In relation to Travers' expression of remorse, Judge Martin Nolan noted: “Sometimes when you're saying sorry, you shouldn't try to blame other people”.

“I discern a pretty bad attitude,” the judge said.

The judge took into account a number of mitigating factors, including Travers' lack of previous convictions and the fact that he appears to be an intelligent young man capable of rehabilitation.

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