A CROOM man has avoided a criminal conviction for assaulting a garda after he agreed to make a donation to charity.
John Liston, aged 23, of Dunaman, Croom pleaded guilty in September to knocking a female garda to the ground as she attempted to break up a fight in the Market Yard, Newcastle West in the early hours of April 9, 2012.
Judge Mary Larkin previously heard that Garda Helena Carey and Garda Pat Holland were on patrol at 3am when they saw a number of young men fighting, and as they attempted to break up the fight Liston, who was lying on the ground, “grabbed Garda Carey by the legs and threw her”, causing her to land on her back and hit her head.
The court also heard that Liston was “quite aggressive” towards gardai at the time and had to be pepper sprayed before being arrested.
In September Liston’s friend and co-accused, Michael Fitzgerald, aged 24, of Caherass, Croom, escaped receiving a criminal conviction after pleading guilty and making a €500 donation to the court’s poor box.
Speaking in court last Friday solicitor Enda O’Connor, acting for Liston, said that a probation report into the accused which had been requested by the judge was “very favourable”. Mr O’Connor reiterated that Liston’s behaviour was down to his having “over indulged” on the night, and stressed that the accused is “at a low risk of re-offending” in the future.
Mr O’Connor previously said that Liston had been “accosted by a number of youths and suffered a number of blows to the head” during the fight, but “had no intention of assaulting Garda Carey”. When he was lying on the ground Liston “saw a pair of shoes and swung out as he feared for his own safety”, and only realised it was Garda Carey afterwards.
The court previously heard that Liston is an apprentice electrician working with a State body, but was hoping to avoid a conviction as he hopes to work abroad.
Mr O’Connor told the judge that Mr Liston had €500 in cash with him in order to make a donation to the garda benevolent fund. Judge Larkin accepted the donation and said that “on the strict understanding that he doesn’t come up here again”, she struck out the charge against Liston.