| 16.8°C Dublin

You're licked Farmer says gardai made 'pure mockery' of him by stopping for ice cream after assault arrest

'It was a roaster of a day and they went and had ice cream. They went in the front of the van and were sniggering back at me'

Close

Conor O’Neill’s tractor had never been taxed, the court was told

Conor O’Neill’s tractor had never been taxed, the court was told

Conor O’Neill’s tractor had never been taxed, the court was told

A man convicted of assaulting a garda after he had to be pulled from his untaxed tractor believes the officers made "a pure mockery" of him by stopping for ice cream after his arrest.

Conor O'Neill (26), from Leam, Boyle, Co Roscommon, was found guilty of assaulting Garda Martin McTiernan, obstruction, threatening and abusive behaviour and having no tax on his vehicle arising out of the bizarre incident on April 14, 2020 outside Boyle garda station.

Garda McTiernan told Carrick District Court that O'Neill, who runs an agricultural contractor business, was extremely abusive and punched him in the face during the incident.

Garda McTiernan also told the court that O'Neill called his colleague, Garda Guill Carvalho, "a foreign f***er" but O'Neill denied using obscenities.

O'Neill pleaded guilty to not displaying his tax disc but had denied the assault, obstruction and threatening and abusive behaviour charges.

However, Judge Sandra Murphy said she was satisfied he was guilty of all the offences.

Close

Farmer Conor O’Neill

Farmer Conor O’Neill

Farmer Conor O’Neill

 

In an interview with the Sunday World after his conviction, O'Neill said he was disappointed with the result but feels in his own head he won the case.

"I was [disappointed]. There was no point saying I wasn't. In my opinion, I know I lost the case, but in my own head I won the case. You'd nearly have to have been in court to see how it went.

He said he was particularly annoyed after his arrest when being transported from Boyle to Castlerea garda station that officers stopped for ice cream and ate it in front of him.

"When I was arrested and being brought to Castlerea they made a pure mockery out of me in the back of the van. It was a roaster of a day and they went and had ice cream. They went in the front of the van eating the ice cream and were sniggering back at me.

"They went up the road and then were slamming on the brakes and I went to the front of the van. It is what it is. I'm not going to lose no sleep over it. In my own eyes I won the case."

O'Neill made a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman over the matter but it was not upheld. The court also heard how he sent a WhatsApp message after the incident calling Garda McTiernan a scumbag who seemed to like tractors and said he was "some breed for a garda".

The court heard the incident unfolded shortly after 4pm on April 14, 2020, when Garda McTiernan, who was on patrol in Boyle with Garda Carvalho, spotted a New Holland tractor that was untaxed and approached the driver who he recognised as Conor O'Neill.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Garda McTiernan said O'Neill admitted the vehicle was untaxed and said he didn't know who owned it. He didn't have a log book and told gardai it was destroyed in a fire.

Gardai then asked him to drive to Boyle garda station where he handed them the keys while they checked details on the tractor.

They found it was registered to O'Neill since 2017 and had never been taxed.

Garda McTiernan told the court he told O'Neill he was seizing the vehicle as it was untaxed.

"He got upset and angry and I explained to him that if he back taxed it, it would be returned to him straight away".

He said O'Neill became more angry when he saw Garda Carvalho.

"When I told him he was being arrested, he got more abusive and said there was no way he was going to leave his tractor".

Garda McTiernan said after about 15 minutes he went up into the tractor but was told to "get the f**k out of it".

He said O'Neill was holding on tight to the steering wheel but he and Garda Carvalho managed to get him to release his grip and started pulling him out of the tractor.

"He struggled and during the struggle he leaned back and punched me on the face. He struggled and shouted abuse and we had to place him face down on the footpath," the garda said.

There were four gardai present by the time of the arrest.

Garda McTiernan said O'Neill called Garda Carvalho a "foreign f***er" during the incident.

After the arrest O'Neill was put into the garda van and taken to Castlerea garda station.

Garda McTiernan told the court the defendant was locked in the back of the van for 15 minutes. He said he stopped to get fuel on the way and bought an ice cream for himself and Garda Carvalho as it was a warm day and both men were thirsty.

Judge Murphy said O'Neill was someone who "escalates when things do not go well for him". She said his previous conviction for assault causing harm was "concerning".

She fined O'Neill €150 for not displaying his tax disk and ordered a Probation Report and victim impact statements from the gardai before adjourning the case to April 22 for sentence.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy