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boxed in Judge calls for extra security around her as visibly drunk man gives evidence after he spat at garda

O'Shea said he was sober during the alleged incident, and that he only had six bottles of beer and some cider

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A judge requested that additional Garda protection be deployed around her in court after allowing a visibly drunk man give evidence in the witness box only 10 feet away from her.

At Kilrush District Court sitting in Ennis, Judge Mary Larkin called for additional Garda security near her in the courtroom as she acceded to a request from an intoxicated Kieran O’Shea (52) of Moore Street, Kilrush that he give evidence in the witness box.

One Garda placed himself between the witness box and Judge Larkin while another Garda stood to the side of the witness box while Mr O'Shea gave evidence.

Mr O’Shea was contesting a charge that he spat in the face of a Garda in the back of a Garda patrol car during the 1st Covid-19 lockdown in May 2020.

The drunk man insisted to Judge Larkin that he was sober on the night despite admitting in the witness box to drinking “five bottles of beer and one bottle of cider” on the night of May 29th 2020.

Solicitor for Mr O’Shea, Tara Godfrey had earlier told Judge Larkin that she was concerned for Mr O’Shea’s case “if he was to give evidence while he is so intoxicated”.

Ms Godfrey said that Mr O’Shea was sober when providing her with instructions some time ago.

She stated: “It is patently obvious to myself in court today that my client is intoxicated here.”

However after Mr O’Shea said that he wanted to give evidence, Judge Larkin said “if he wants to give evidence he can”.

In the case, Garda Patrick Hanley stated that Mr O’Shea spat in his face in the back of a patrol car on May 29th 2020 while Kilrush Gardai were seeking to transport Mr O’Shea from Kilrush to Shannon Garda Station.

Garda Hanley said that Mr O’Shea became so aggressive in the patrol car that Gardai called for the Garda patrol van and Mr O’Shea was placed in caged custody in the back of the patrol van to bring him to Shannon.

On arrival at Shannon Garda Station, Gardai placed a ‘spit-hood’ on Mr O’Shea.

In evidence, Mr O’Shea denied that he spat at Garda Hanley.

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He said: “They beat me like a dog.”

Asked by Judge Larkin “how drunk were you on the night?” Mr O’Shea replied: “I was sober - that was the sad part of it. On the night, I had six bottles of beer and a bottle of cider”.

Judge Larkin said that she was satisfied that Mr O’Shea spat at Garda Hanley and found him guilty of the assault on Garda Hanley.

Judge Larkin stated that Mr O’Shea “created a significant disturbance and upset a significant amount of Gardai”.

Adjourning the case for sentence, Judge Larkin stated: “I am not going to impose a sentence while Mr O’Shea is in the condition he is in.”

Judge Larkin adjourned the case to March to allow a probation report on Mr O’Shea and a victim impact statement to be supplied by Garda Hanley. Judge Larkin remanded Mr O'Shea on bail until March 15th.

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